Friday night.  We drove north on I 94, got off at exit 333, headed east in Wisconsin.

For Racine.

Turned off Washington at Phillips.  We could hear the music.  See the lights.  Watch young people make their way in the streets to dance and hear Cory Cifax.  Bumps INS.  At the Salvation Army Club de Vida.Racine March 8 2013 (1)

We walk in the doors.  The place is so crowded that we can hardly make our way through the hallways.  We turn a corner and see Ryan.  His eyes go big and jaw drops.  We surprised him.  Then a wide smile and a bear hug that lifts me three feet off the floor.

Ryan Read is the youth development coordinator at the Racine Corps.  He has been revitalizing youth programs, and establishing the Salvation Army in the neighborhood as a place for young people.  Racine March 8 2013 (3)

It’s part of Ryan’s youth development work in this underserved community using the 4 Points of Contact.  The 4 Points of Contact is an approach which recognizes the value of leading young people to experience responsibility, community, spark, and depth.  Spiritual depth.  A spark of awareness and growth of talents and strengths.  Becoming a responsibile person.  And community.

Community and spiritual depth were being celebrated.  Cory Cifax (Milwaukee) and Bumps INS (Cleveland) are hip hop artists and Christians.  Both presented good news in their rapid image-rich words.  The couple hundred young people listened, swayed, laughed, prayed.

The small Salvation Army chapel held as much as it could.  Of people.  And of a better alternative than offered to many Racine young people on a Friday night.

It was also good to see Salvation Army people from other towns.  Lieutenant Cherie Mangeri with young people from Sheboygan WI.  And two vans full from Waukegan IL.

Community stretches far.Racine March 8 2013 (6)