West Michigan Youth for Christ Seeks to Build Meaningful Relationships
by Samuel Brooks
West Michigan Youth for Christ is a non-profit, faith-based ministry with a mission to reach out to the young people in the Greater Grand Rapids area and Lakeshore. Youth for Christ accomplishes this by using fellowships as "building times"; not in the sense of a bible study or a spiritual time but are, instead, meant to build relationships with kids through shared experience. The organization aims to build partnerships with local churches and other like-minded organizations, encouraging individuals to start and have a life-long relationship with Jesus Christ.
Cornerstone University graduate and Campus Life Director for West Michigan Youth for Christ, Grace Ralsten (B.S. '13), has served with Youth for Christ for six years and also has extended family involved within the organization.
"I want to know my students on a deeper level through activities and by following up continuously as the students build a closer and meaningful relationship with Christ," said Ralsten.
Cornerstone University student, Carter Hastings (B.S. '17), recently completed a summer internship at the Youth for Christ chapter in Seneca, Pa., and is currently interning with West Michigan Youth for Christ.
"I hope to have an impactful career where my legacy is not just about making money but where I can glorify God and be a Christian role model for those that aren’t in that environment," said Hastings.
West Michigan Youth for Christ will engage with students anywhere, whether it's a sporting event or building fellowships by taking students out for coffee. The organization accomplishes these tasks through their variety of programs. For example, Campus Life Club is a safe place for students to come and learn about God, Unified Underground is a ministry that works with sub-culture youth and Juvenile Justice Ministry works with incarcerated teens in the detention center.
Currently, Crossroads Campus Life Club has attendance around 70-80, representing an outreach to 250 out of 500 students in one of the public schools that West Michigan YFC is involved with.