Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Meeting Kids Where They’re At

Name: Lauren Brooks
From: Augusta, GA
Grade: High School Senior/ College Freshman
School: Augusta Christian School/ Georgia Regents University
Votes: 0

When I moved to Valdosta, Georgia for college I decided to get involved with an on
campus organization called YoungLife. My sister was involved with the
high school side back in my hometown, and had made a very deep
connection with her high school leader, and that was what inspired me
to become a leader. The organization, while being about getting kids
to know Christ and helping them affectively pursue a relationship
with Him, but it’s not just about that. We go to the kids. We spend
their lunch periods with them, we go to their athletic events, sit
and watch practices, take them to school and take them to dinner. We
only take two nights a month of their time to actually run a bible
study and lead worship, an event we call “club night”, making it
a light commitment for them. It’s intimidating, to be an outsider,
stepping onto a high school or middle school campus, especially when
it’s not the high school you went too, but it means giving them the
upper hand, and if they have the upper hand, it’s ten times easier
to get them to talk to you and to get to know them. But, the most
rewarding part of all the awkwardness you endure when meeting the
kids is when they introduce to their friends, and their parents, and
then you have the support of parents who see you making an impact in
their children’s life and making an intentional effort to be there
and to guide them through life. In my experience with YoungLife this
far, I’ve learned that all kids are the same. They just want to be
seen, and they’re always looking for their place in the world. It
makes a kid feel special, when somebody comes and sits at their lunch
table three times a week and asks about life, and gives them the full
attention. Kids just need to be loved on, and to be looked at without
judgement, and want something to see them and be there for them even
when they mess up. Being a college kid in a high schooler’s world
makes the perfect opportunity to be that person. We’ve been there,
we’ve struggled, we’ve all made the bad choices and that gives us
the ability to love a kid when they make the same bad choices, but
also gives us the opportunity to tell them that the choices they’re
about to make, don’t hold the satisfaction and things that they’re
really after; Jesus does that.

Being a volunteer leader with YoungLife is one of the most rewarding experiences I have
had so far in my life, and an influence I hope is always present in
my life. Mentoring to kids means that I get to be close with younger
people, but YoungLife has also built a support system of people for
me. While helping high school kids, we’re also able to lean in to
the leaders surrounding us as fellow college kids.

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