YFC Juvenile Justice Ministry Podcast Addresses ‘A Lack of Awareness and Misconceptions Around the Juvenile Justice System’
There is a crisis in America that is often not discussed, but vital to the betterment of future generations. Recent reports state that in 2019, an estimated 2.6 million youth under the age of 18 were arrested in the United States. These numbers, while slightly on the decline over the past 40 years, are still staggering. While many organizations and ministries seem to overlook this group of youth, Youth For Christ is first on the ground to build relationships and come alongside justice-involved youth in meeting holistic and spiritual needs.
One way YFC is bringing awareness to youth in Juvenile Justice Agencies is through “Stories from the Inside,” a podcast dedicated to exposing the truths behind the Juvenile Justice System and sharing the stories of youth, agency workers, court systems, chaplains, and many others. Co-hosts Chelsie Coleman and CJ Fisher not only bring awareness to the Juvenile Justice System but find the place where “Juvenile Justice and Faith Meet.”
“There is a lack of awareness and misconceptions around the Juvenile Justice System. Young people in the Juvenile Justice System often feel overlooked, and it’s our passion to make them feel seen, heard, and valued. Juvenile Justice Ministry leaders aim to be a steady voice and presence in their lives, intentionally postured as humble and authentic mentors. Many of the teenagers we meet face adverse situations such as relational trauma, racial trauma, community violence, and lack of access to basic needs. It is during these moments of crisis that our leaders invest in reciprocal trusted friendships with our young people, who are facing pivotal life challenges. We ultimately build relationships with young people to introduce them to Christ and uncover God’s story of Hope in their lives.” -Jacob Bland, President and CEO of Youth For Christ USA
Coleman and Fisher discuss the issues facing justice involved youth today, such as homelessness, human trafficking, racial and ethnic disparities, and other important concerns young people are struggling with. Coleman stated, “We want to elevate the voices of our youth that are being impacted by incarceration. I think about girls and boys that I’ve met over the years and I think there’s a stigma around them. You meet them and walk into a Juvenile Detention Center, and you realize they are just kids.”
Fisher also commented, “I think a lot of people aren’t aware of what goes on in the Juvenile Justice System and don’t know why so many youth get incarcerated. We talk about the history that has been in their lives, the brokenness, the trauma, and how that ultimately is the factor of why they are in the system and why they keep coming back into the system.”
To listen to the podcast or to find more information.