Young Life: a good cause to support!!!

Like to briefly profile one of the cool members of the FOR. FOR = friends of Rene ... is it too self-agrandizing?

RM works with youth in Hollywood through an organization called Young Life. She grew up in Ohio and came out here a couple of years ago to work with young people. I met her through my church's "Diner's Club" which is a way for people in our 500+ church to meet other people. Thus, one of the dinner events was at her apartment.

She lives right in the thick of things in Hollywood and spends her days there with youth.

For readers who don't live in Los Angeles, you may have a picture of the motion picture industry and all its glamour and glitz. That is indeed on aspect of Hollywood.

But the reality of Hollywood, the place, is that of a rough neighborhood and the kids need all the help they can get.

And so rare people like RM are giving their all to help.

Let's see if we can't help out a little bit by supporting their work financially. If you are inclined to prayer, that helps too.

Here is an excerpt from their mission statement:

Our Mission
Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith.
We accomplish our mission by ...

* Praying for young people.
* Going where kids are.
* Building personal relationships with them.
* Winning the right to be heard.
* Providing experiences that are fun, adventurous and life-changing.
* Sharing our lives and the Good News of Jesus Christ with adolescents.
* Inviting them to personally respond to this Good News.
* Loving them regardless of their response.
* Nurturing kids so they might grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of God's Word and become people who can share their faith with others.
* Helping young people develop the skills, assets and attitudes to reach their full God-given potential.
* Encouraging kids to live connected to the Body of Christ by being an active member of a local congregation.
* Working with a team of like-minded individuals -- volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff.

Hugh Hewitt is a big supporter and on his blog on the left panel he makes his pitch for support of Young Life.

As listeners to my radio show know, I consider Young Life to be the most effective outreach to high school kids in the country. I had dinner with the Los Angeles Region's director last week. Dawn Finch is a remarkable servant of God and a tremendous force for the good in the city of Los Angeles. She is also fearless and continually looking for ways to serve the teens of Los Angeles. All this week I'll be asking my radio audience to consider making a gift to help send an LA kid to camp. It costs $400 a kid, which might as well be $4,000 for these kids whose families, if they have them, are struggling to put food on the table. Please consider a gift. In fact, consider a generous gift.

Here's Dawn's e-mail to me after our dinner:

"You asked me to let you know about our summer camp plans for inner city L.A. kids :

We are trying to send 200 kids to high school camp at Woodleaf and jr. high camp at Oakbridge. We have quota all through the summer. It costs approximately $400 to send kids to a week at camp, but our kids pay an average of $100. It's all they can afford. Two moms called me today asking if they could pay $50 now and $50 next month.

That means that we have to raise $300 per student in order to send them to a camp they so sorely need. Many of these kids have never been outside of Los Angeles; most have never had a vacation. Their world view is very small. It's confined to the streets they live on. A week at camp gives them a chance to see God's creation. They can't believe how beautiful it is! My favorite thing to do with them is pick blackberries from the bushes at Woodleaf - they've never had that kind of simple experience. They also can't believe that they get 3 meals a day - all they can eat. Most live on McDonald's. They haven't experienced the "family" setting of sitting down to a meal. And for many it is the first time they've been away from their music, the negative pressures of the street, etc. to have the time to hear and consider the good news of Christ's love and forgiveness and the chance for a new start in life. I've seen the hardest kids in tears at the camps, even gang members.

Please let me know if you need any more information . All the kids we send are African American and Latino. The address to send checks made payable to Young Life is 5317 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019."

So, please dig deep. Even if you aren't a Christian, but especially if you are. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get these kids out of Los Angeles to a wonderful camp with hundreds of other kids from around the country. Young Life has been running these camps for six decades, and they know how to make all these teens welcome.

Please give generously. Send a check or cash to Young Life, 5317 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019.

Many thanks. Hugh and Dawn