Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) was found in 1944. YFC has been on the forefront of Gospel-centered youth relationships for nearly eight decades. What sets YFC apart from other youth organizations is the dedication to reaching youth during pivotal life moments. YFC also creates meaningful relationships that prioritize the Gospel.
One unique approach YFC uses to connect with youth is to create strategic partnerships with likeminded businesses to better suit the needs of today’s youth. One YFC chapter, Nashville YFC, utilizes connections with local businesses and organizations to create powerful opportunities for youth in need.
Jeff Shicks is Nashville YFC’s Executive Director. “After COVID forced other chapters to shut down, we are the last YFC chapter in the state of Tennessee,” said Shicks. “We currently have several different outreaches, including Campus Life, City Life, Juvenile Justice, and Parent Life. We’ve partnered with several schools and businesses in our area to maximize our reach and provide unique resources for the youth in our community.
Teaming with the Community
“For example, we have created such a great connection with several of the local schools. They allow us to come in during the school day to meet with the kids and foster relationships. During study hall, students can participate in activities that allow us to experience life together and hear some of their story. In one school, we have many students who don’t speak English and are desperately looking for a connection. It was initially a difficult challenge as we pondered how to relate to students if we couldn’t speak with them. But then we realized that all we had to do was show up and be part of their lives. Just listening to them — even if we don’t understand — brings value. The love of Christ is a universal language, and these kids can feel seen and heard, just by our presence.
“We have similar partnerships with some of the businesses in the area,” Shicks said. “One of our staff members’ husband manages a tire company. We got the great idea of bringing our teen moms in Parent Life to the car shop and teach them how to maintain their car. The moms learn how to change a tire or check their oil and tire pressure. While doing so, the YFC staff watch their children for them. The opportunity to empower these teen moms while building solid relationships with them and their children is so encouraging.”