Archives for posts with tag: youth

A very fine article from Bruce Main of UrbanPromise about youth development including a utilitarian point of view, courtesy of Prism Magazine.

A Costly Thing To Waste


Rachael Jarboe of City Vision College sent the following note regarding an online course in urban youth ministry City Vision will offer beginning January 2.   BTW, The Salvation Army and City Vision work together in placement of interns in several Army locations around the Midwest.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­I wanted to to let you know that City Vision College will be offering an eight week accredited online Course in Urban Youth Ministrystarting January 2.  The course will be taught by Jeremy Del Rio, who is a national speaker and adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary, Alliance Theological Seminary, and City Vision College.  To register for the course visit:

Below is a description of the course.  If you have any questions, please E-mail or call 816-960-2008.

Course 330 – UYM101: Urban Youth Ministry


Course Description
This course introduces students to the theory and practice of holistic youth development in an increasingly interconnected, open-sourced, urban world. Students will be equipped to develop asset-based, student-led, contextually relevant, culturally engaging, transformational relationships with young people. Special emphasis will be placed on issues of multiculturalism, urban poverty, and educational inequity.

Course Objectives

  • Empower students to lead holistic youth development in their respective communities.
  • Introduce students to the ideas and principles of community youth development.
  • Create a framework for nurturing authentic student leadership.
  • Provide tools for asset-based youth development, accessing community resources, and transformational mentoring.
  • Explore the cultural context and implications of the first generation to grow up online.
  • Explore the influence of Hip Hop on cities, pop culture, and youth development.
  • Explore the implications of digital media for youth development strategies.

Weekly Topics
1.        Foundations of Community Youth Development
2.        Empowering Authentic (Student-Led) Student Leadership
3.        Holistic Strategies: Introducing 40 Developmental Assets
4.        Sustainable Supports: Cultivating Community Assets
5.        Beyond Service: Restoring Justice to Youth Development
6.        Developing Leaders on your Team: Mentoring Matters
7.        Cultural Remix: Engaging the Hip Hop Generation
8.        The Generation Changing the World


Thank you,
Rachael Jarboe
TechMission and City Vision College
Phone: 816-960-2008 City Vision College Academic Office



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Alex Kotlowitz visited us one evening when we were corps officers at Chicago Temple Corps.  Here’s a Chicago Tribune article last month about how he was changed by his experience writing the book There Are No Children Here.

Kotlowitz came to speak to the leaders and workers who staffed our Tuesday evening programs for young people.  Once a quarter we would tell the children and teens to stay home.  We’d fix up a nice meal for the leaders and then talk about what was taking place with our young people.  Do some planning.  Pray together.  Sunbeams, Corps Cadets, Adventure Corps, Girl Guards, tutoring, music.  Familiar programs to Salvation Army folk. 

Men Only.  It was the name of the discipling program we used for young men growing up on Chicago’s West Side.  Many of them lived in the CHA Henry Horner Homes.  Henry Horner no longer exists, but it was one rough place for families to raise young people.

Sitting here, writing these words, the memories of people and their stories begin to return.  The sights, smells, feelings.  Fear, anger, hope, joy.

The visit by Kotlowitz was made possible by our friend, Ben Teifeld.  Ben’s a devout practicing Jew who is committed to serving in the very hard places of Chicago. 

Hard work.  If you asked me what characterized our ministry there in the 1980s and early 90s.  And good people willing to come along side us and the many good people of Henry Horner Homes.

Since the start of this millennium Detroit closed dozens of schools as the city’s population dropped 25% from 951,000 in 2000 to 714,000 in 2010.   Detroit has squirmed in trying to deal with this crisis.   Find alternatives to public education as we know it?  What do we do for those whom the alternatives are not available?

When Detroit Public schools open next month students will find nine new schools. 

See this Free Press story about the first half of projects made possible by a $500 million school bond program.  Some people in Detroit still believe that students need good places to learn.

Read this month’s issue of the CCDA eNews for Noel Castellano’s article on church-planting’s growing adoption of Christian community development in poor neighborhoods.

I’m always suspicious about plans to establish new corps (SA lingo for churches).  For where and who?  Financially self-sustaining congregations in well served and well resourced neighborhoods, built on households with incomes, education, social standing?  Is this how we place a corps?

Educational reform will be the advocacy challenge focus for this year’s CCDA National Conference in Indianapolis, October 12- 16.  Many of you working in inner cities and other underserved communities realize that deficient educational systems pose the greatest long-term challenge to development of human potential.

Human potential.  When Jesus said he came so that humans would have abundant life (John 10:10), the verse beginning with a description of the thief who comes only “to steal and kill and destroy”, I remember the young people of Gary, west side Chicago and Detroit

Gifted and intelligent but with meager opportunities.  Critical thinking skills undeveloped because learning resources and support were not available at a critical time.  As young people grew older their options shriveled.  Jobs at the car wash.  Parking lot.  College, only an unrealized dream.

When you realize that your life will not be anything close to the possibilities shown in American media, that it will not be what you see others have, hope begins to slowly dry up.  You feel that something has been stolen.

Years ago an elementary school building sat empty in Gary, Indiana.  We dreamed about it becoming our school for the young people who came to our vacation Bible school, who eventually were at the corps building every time it was open.  They had figured it out.  The best option in a rough place was to be with us.  Recognized, respected, valued.  We were together, doing something good, and it was better than what was happening in the streets, neighborhoods, housing projects.

Salvation is not obtained by agreeing to bullet points in a gospel tract.  Even praying the sinner’s prayer.  Salvation comes this day to the houses and neighborhoods of young people and their families when it becomes life, abundant life.

Our school never came into existence.   But it has remained in our imagination and vision.

I drove past the school building a few weeks ago.  It is in use again.  But not as our school.  If it is experiencing today what seems to be the usual educational experience in American cities it’s almost as good as empty.

For details, visit the Reload Urban Youth Worker Conference website about a day of training at North Park University on Chicago’s north side, April 2, featuring Efrem Smith author of The Hip Hop Church.

Date:       02/08/2011 09:43 AM
Subject:    VBS Curriculum for Urban Youth

Majors Phil and Gail,

We’re looking at doing a Spring Break VBS for kids in our neighborhood.
The thing that we are thinking about is what kind of curriculum to use.
There seems to be an abundance of curriculum for white middle class kids,
and nothing for urban youth (at least what we are finding).  Now, I know
that we can’t pigeon hole kids thinking that one kind of curriculum will
not appeal to kids from certain circumstances, but I do think that some of
the stuff we are seeing may actually not appeal to them.  Any thoughts,
since you are experienced in working with youth from all backgrounds and

We are at least looking to mix it up so that there are elements appealing
to kids from all backgrounds.  We’ve talked to the G.C.F. guys about coming
up and working with the kids one afternoon and then doing a concert
afterwards.  Lauren Holman has mentioned that kids will sing along to the
songs, and they will participate in almost everything given to them.  We
have seen them very excited and involved in our Wednesday night activities,
yet they do show reluctance towards some things like Sunday School style
songs.  We want to continue to meet them where they are at, while also
challenging them to live better lives and to be saved.   So what do you


Tom Wyatt
Community Ministry Coordinator
The Salvation Army Flint Citadel Corps Community Center
810.232.2199 x205 (work) / 810.597.7583 (cell)

Rebuild / Restore / Renew

Hi Sharon –

What have you seen?  I know there was a curriculum out there
specifically for urban youth (Tasty faith) and it seems we’ve answered this
question before from others.  Copy Phil on your thoughts and I’ll ask if he
can post something on his blog.

Gail Aho, Major
Territorial Youth Secretary
Central Territory, USA

Gail –

In addition to the Tasty Faith that you refer to, Cokesbury/Abingdon Press
have curriculum, including VBS, that targets an urban audience, in
particular the African/American community.  I have actually seen some of
the VBS material in year’s past., and it looked as if it would appeal to
urban youth.   Namely one called On the Move and another called Walk It Out
Together in the Way of Jesus.  One of them used various vignettes from the
Civil Rights movement.

I went to their website and I think this year’s “urban” VBS is titled Jesus
Truth Seekers.  I believe it is published in conjunction with Urban
Ministries Inc.

If you got to www.cokesbury.comand then browse under curriculum, you can
check it out.

Naturally, this material would need to be previewed because it may contain
teachings that are not in line with TSA doctrine.

God bless.


Sharon Waiksnoris
Territorial Christian Education Director

Phil – 

No issues here.  

[I asked Tom, Gail and Sharon if it was okay to share our email conversation]

I think this is a good matter for discussion.  It is difficult to find resources specificly for urban youth.  True, generic VBS curriculum could and would most likely work for urban youth as well as suburban youth, but it would be nice to have options.  I’d rather have every resource available to connect with the kids and connect them to Jesus.  Didn’t Booth say to adapt our measures in such ways that we gain an audience that can hear the gospel?  When we do not have this, I feel like I am in that scene from The Adams Family II where Wednesday and Puglsy are sent to this camp full of vibrant color, smiles, cheesey songs, etc..  They are totally out of their element and can find little of value to take with them. 

Thanks, Tom. I will have to watch Adams Family II before I can exegete it.


The New York Times reported today on new information from the US Census:

  • younger Americans are far less white than older generations; in ten states white are a minority of the youth population (Arizona is one of the states)
  • The number of whites under the age of 20 fell by 6 percent between 2000 and 2008
  •  the number of mixed-race children doubled, Hispanic children doubled, and Asian children were up by more than two-thirds

America’s population is changing.  And this change will be felt especially in our cities and suburbs.   Whatever the implications, one surely is that we have a great opportunity in this changing world to be people of mercy and justice for and with our new neighbors.  Here’s a link to the NY Times article.

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