Sample Junior Leader Program

YoungLives Moms.jpg

Looking for a way to call your older teen moms into something deeper, maybe with a little more responsibility and a little more opportunity for growing as leaders? Mandy Shyers, YoungLives Regional Coordinator in the Cimarron Region, has put together this handy sample how-to sheet - complete with questions for your area to consider as you personalize a plan for your own area.

Free download available here: "Developing Young Leaders"

-shared by Mandy Shyers, YoungLives Regional Coordinator

Need mentors or childcare volunteers? If you live near a metropolitan area, might be able to help! Check this out:

"I recently posted an ad on VolunteerMatch.Org asking for help, and received eight inquiries right away! Of course you always have to be careful finding help on the internet, so make sure to set up an interview in person. I usually only respond once to their inquiry and pray that it actually goes somewhere. I also asked a woman if she was a Christian before meeting with her. She wasn't offended at all and actually was happy that it was a concern of mine! 
Our post said this:  We are looking for Christian women who have a desire to see pregnant and parenting women in their teens meet Jesus. This ministry is just getting started, so we need lots of helpers! We will need mentors, childcare workers, food help, baby donations, committee, prayer partners, and financial support! If interested, please respond so we can set up a meeting to get to know you! 

Now we have three new mentors because of an ad that I posted and it only took five minutes to sign-up!”

-Erin Kennedy, YoungLives Coordinator

Note: You will need our Young Life 501-C3 number (available on Staff Resources) in order to qualify for free postings.

In the News: Thanksgiving 5K Helps Teen Moms and Their Kids

            The Thanksgiving 5K in Hamilton is a growing local tradition that started a few years ago with 30 runners. Now, hundreds participate in the event that raises funds for a ministry that helps teen mothers and their children.

— When Katie Farr Powers lived in Cincinnati, she enjoyed running in Thanksgiving Day events there.
But there were no running events in Hamilton, so she started her own, and combined it with another passion — helping teen mothers and their children thrive despite the obstacles they face.

“We started four years ago, and we had 30 people sign up for a 5K,” said Powers, 37. “We ran around Highland Park, starting in our driveway. My husband (Mark Powers) and I started it at our house.”
“We partnered with YoungLives, which is a local ministry for teen moms, and their kids,” Powers said. “It’s a mentorship program. Our aim was just to gather some people and raise support and awareness for YoungLives, and start a new tradition on Thanksgiving morning in Hamilton.”
Continue reading story here...

How to Befriend Churches (Including a Sample Downloadable Letter!)

Churches are arguably one of YoungLives' most powerful allies. Aside from the fact that they can often easily host club (since they have nursery space, a kitchen AND club space) and that they often become some of our most consistent and long-lasting donors - churches also hold the power to hook us up with potential volunteers and mentors. And on top of all those good things, we need great churches to come alongside our teens as they enter adulthood. We need churches to be a safe place where single 20-something moms can find a home for friendship, discipleship, and support long after they have outgrown YoungLives.

But how do we initiate connections with pastors and ministry leaders who are swamped with lots of other good things? Here are a few quick ideas to get you started!

  1. Download this sample letter to churches to use as a first step in introducing YoungLives in your community or as part of your volunteer recruiting strategy. Send it along with a brochure or flyer with pictures of the teen moms in your area. 
  2. Don't stop with a letter! That's just step number one, remember? Follow up with a phone call, a personal visit by their office with some Young Life swag as a gift, or some other personal gesture. 
  3. Find out who your friends know! Knowing someone in the church who can introduce you to the pastor - or even knowing a friend of a friend who goes to that church - can get you on the fast-track to an introduction. 
  4. Join a small group or Bible study hosted by the church, or check the church calendar for other events coming up that you could attend or even volunteer for. In other words - get on their turf. 
Just like with teens, churches won't care how much you know until they see how much you care. It's all about earning the right to be heard, building bridges and forming relationships. Shall I go on? I'll stop. But in all truth, contact work with churches shouldn't look any different from contact work with teens. It's in our Young Life DNA for a reason - let's use it to our full advantage!

14 Easy Games For Getting to Know Teens

Contact work means going to where kids are, and sometimes (or... usually) that means that we encounter conversation gaps and awkward silences. But take heart - we have put together a list of smooth, fun ways to bridge the gap between meeting new kids and getting comfortable with each other! Here goes:
  1. M&M’s - mini packs - Ahead of time, write out a question for each color. Kids have to answer the questions for whatever colors of M&Ms they have (one at a time).
  2. Toilet paper sharing - each person tears off however many squares they want. Then everyone tells one thing about themselves for each square they have.
  3. Put all the names in center of table. Each person picks a name, and then draws a picture of that person (provide paper and pencils). Collect the drawings and then guess who each picture is of!
  4. Dice Roll - Bring a set of dice for each person. Simultaneously, everyone tries to roll 2, then 3, then 4, etc. The first person to roll all the way to 12 is the winner!
  5. Pass the Pigs game (you will need to buy this). It's funny!
  6. Picture Telephone: Give a paper and pencil to each person, and sit down in a circle (at a table is best). Everyone draws an item, folds it over, and passes their paper to the person on their right. The next person writes down what they see in the picture, folds the paper over, and passes the paper to their right. This person draws a picture of the phrase they see, folds the paper, and passes it to their right. Keep going until the papers have gone around the group. When they get back to the original person, see if it stayed the same item until the end! (An alternative is to start by writing a phrase and have the second person draw it).
  7. Buzz Blast game - (you will need to buy this) Pull some of the cards from the game and use to start conversation!
  8. Truth or Lie game - each person names two truths and one lie and we all guess which one is the lie.
  9. Baby Shower game - print a baby shower game off from Pinterest and play during lunch or another time when you have some time to kill.
  10. Would You Rather - buy or print off game cards.
  11. Try to find three things that everyone in the group has in common!
  12. Mom tips - have everyone write down a "mom tip" on paper, put them in the middle of the table, and read them aloud one by one. 
  13. Mad Lib games - there are actually teen versions or mom versions you can find.
  14. Two questions - What would you spend $100 on if you had it? What would you do if you had a day to do anything? Write on paper and put in the center of the table. Try to match each response to the person who wrote it!
What other ideas have you used to fill possible awkward silence when meeting a new mom or a group of new moms?

Thanks to Julie VonGunten, YoungLives Coordinator, for submitting this list!

Does YoungLives Work? Survey Says.... Yes!

In an external survey taken by over 2,000 teen moms involved in YoungLives, the results are clear. Involvement in YoungLives - and particularly, involvement with a YoungLives mentor - produces deep, meaningful, and far-reaching change. Just take a look at a few of these graphics pulled from the YoungLives Impact Report (available for download or purchase here).

The survey concludes that:
The data confirms that YoungLives' method of putting relationships first - and giving teen moms a chance to give back - is working. From increased educational attainment and aspirations, to improved parenting skills, to a new sense of hope and purpose and a strong support system - YoungLives is making it possible for teen moms to beat the odds and build a secure future for themselves and their children. Not only do young moms gain a group of peers and mentors to help them navigate a daunting path, but they find value, meaning, and hope along the way. And that makes all the difference. 
YoungLives staff and volunteers can access the entire PowerPoint presentation of the findings here, complete with take-aways about strengthening mentor relationships, deepening faith conversations, and diversifying the racial/ethnic make-up of YoungLives staff and volunteers. 

Beyond YoungLives: How to Disciple & Transition Older Moms

What do you do with girls who are getting too old for YoungLives, or who are ready for the “next step” in their discipleship?

Below is a list of ideas that YoungLives areas have used to help older girls to find their place as leaders and role models, and also to facilitate healthy closure for older moms – creating space for mentors to move on to younger moms.

Campaigners - After girls officially graduate from YoungLives, they don’t come to Club any more - but they can still be invited to come to Campaigners for a year or so. Another option is to start a separate Campaigners group for the older girls, either with mentors who want to stay with their older girls or mentors who are ready to be involved in something different. 

Church - Emphasize how important it is for girls for to be connected in a church, and help them to find a church home where they feel comfortable and welcomed. Look for churches that have good childcare, small groups, culturally relevant services, access to bus lines, Saturday night or late Sunday morning services, etc. Find a small group that is willing to “adopt” a couple of older girls, and help them to get plugged in. Encourage girls to get involved in church activities besides just Sunday morning. Once one or two teen moms find a church where they feel at home, this can help to create a culture of church attendance in your YoungLives group – where teen moms start inviting their friends to church. This is even more effective than mentors inviting girls to church!

GraduationCreate a graduation plan with specific steps - goal-setting, junior leader training, and life skills classes. Encourage attendance, good behavior and meeting with their mentors through incentives like gift cards, camp scholarships and levels of achievement at graduation.
Here are a couple of examples:
Then hold a graduation celebration as a part of club at the end of each semester or school year to honor those young moms who have reached a certain age or milestone. Girls should be told about the graduation plan when they enter YoungLives. Their graduation date should also be a regular conversation with their mentor. Mentors can stay involved with graduated girls, but they are no longer officially their mentors. 

Junior Mentors - Create a model for girls to become junior mentors. Train them to take on more responsibility once they graduate. For instance, they can be responsible for finding their own childcare and/or transportation, partner with their mentor to mentor a new girl together, take on responsibilities as club helpers (program, sound, setup/teardown), help with transportation, lead Campaigners lessons, do contact work with you, etc.

Senior Group - Create a small group just for your senior/alumni girls, or suggest that one of your graduated girls organize and lead it. They can have their own Campaigners, go to church together, plan play dates together, watch one another’s children, and so on.

Support Network - Look for classes/groups for single parents, programs for mothers, Bible studies, and support groups at churches and pregnancy centers that the girls can join after they graduate. Or if they are married, help them to find a married couple’s Bible study to join with their husband.

Work Crew - Taking a few girls to a weekend camp to do work crew is a fantastic way for them to learn how to give back and for you to be able to pour into them for a few days straight - with no kids, friends, or family around to distract them! 
A few things to expect:
  • Lots and lots of laughter and bonding.
  • Watching them work really hard!
  • Having cabin time and debriefing about the experience.
  • Getting to share with them in the joy of service.
  • Lots of great side conversations throughout the weekend.
  • Listening to them snore for the entire ride home.
To volunteer for a work crew weekend, contact your Regional Director or your YoungLives Divisional Coordinator about opportunities near you.

Teen moms surprised at Love Field with trip to Disneyworld!

Oh my goodness, we LOVE this story! What a sweet, sweet demonstration of God's goodness and love for us. Way to go, Carrollton YoungLives!

See the full story here!