Metro Maryland YFC Partnerships with Local Schools to Reach Youth in Mental Health Crisis

March 1, 2023


Mental Health Crisis

Recent reports reveal the troubling plight of America’s youth. A growing number of parents are bringing their teens who struggle with mental illness to emergency rooms and health clinics. This is done in hopes that the rise of reported mental health concerns can be addressed. In the face of the mental health needs of America’s youth, Youth For Christ’s (YFC,, a leader in missional youth outreach for 78 years, is reaching teens struggling with mental health issues and providing loving, encouraging mentor relationships that lead young people to Christ.


Stephen Kaiss is Metro Maryland YFC’s Executive Director. “A lot of kids come through our door wounded,” says Kaiss. “The pandemic took a huge toll on youth. They were left struggling with the uncertainty of what was coming next and how to move forward. This paired with the rise and impact of social media, which shortened their attention spans, and created further isolation.

 Adjusting to Society

“The plight of today’s youth is something we adults could never have imagined. The tools we’ve used to help kids in the past don’t apply anymore. Many adults and youth organizations have found themselves struggling to adapt to what today’s youth need. For example, 10 years ago, only one or two ministry sites would have a student working through sexual or gender confusion. Today, every single one of our ministry sites has a teen dealing with LGBTQ issues. These types of problems have just magnified in today’s culture.”


The goal is to combat this growing trend of mental health issues in today’s teens. Metro Maryland YFC has various outreaches to reach youth in whatever situation they find themselves in. The outreach programs are Campus Life, City Life, Parent Life, Juvenile Justice Ministry, and Military Life. Metro Maryland YFC foster positive relationships with schools, detention centers, and even Fort Meade.

Success with Christ

“Consistency is key when it comes to partnering with likeminded local organizations,” said Kaiss. “Other youth organizations and schools have seen so many people come and go. With that said, they are longing for long-term solutions. We come to the administration. Instead of asking for something from them, we just offer our help and ask how we can serve them. Transparency and humility are exactly what many of these administrations are looking for. I once came to an administrator and asked how YFC could be involved in her school. She went and shut the door to her office, got on her knees, and thanked God for a direct answer to prayer.


“The key to all of this growth and impact is the importance of authentic, Christ-sharing relationships. This is with both – the youth as well as the administration we partner with. They’re all facing some sort of battle and need love, encouragement, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With that said, it’s only through a relationship with Christ that they will have success.”

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