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Grants aim to help young people change world

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo courtesy of Board of Discipleship

Youth members of Faith Engine Ministry gather in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Jan. 18, 2006

A UMNS Report
By Kathy L. Gilbert*

Young hip-hop leaders in New York will receive $8,000 from the United Methodist Church to help them transform the village of Harlem “from a haven of poverty and despair to a solace of hope and love.”

Young war victims in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will receive $6,000 so they can learn computer skills that will help them find employment.

A group of young people in Johnson City, Tenn., will get $9,000 to drill wells for families without access to public water, install septic systems for homes without indoor plumbing, and provide badly need plumbing upgrades in an area where families cannot afford the repairs.

These programs represent some of the ways the United Methodist Youth Service Fund is helping youth around the world become “world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ.”

This year, the Youth Service Fund will send $91,000 to 15 programs in the United States, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Grants for ministries with young people total $90,000 for 17 programs in the United States, Finland, Liberia, the Philippines, Germany and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The most exciting thing to me, about the Youth Service Fund, is that it is raised by youth to support ministries by youth. These funds are not from World Service dollars,” says the Rev. Lillian Smith, top executive for the Division on Ministries With Young People at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. The division distributes and manages the fund and grants. (Many of the denomination’s churchwide ministries are supported with World Service dollars, paid through apportionments.)

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo courtesy of Board of Discipleship

Trained teen leaders administer a free after-school and summer program for families that cannot afford quality care at Medway United Methodist Church, Dayton, Ohio.
“To think that the tithe alone of the Youth Service Fund provided $12,500 to fight hunger and promote peace — wow! Talk about discipleship!” Smith said. “Talk about youth living out God’s call to feed the hungry and promote reconciliation and peace. Young people can make a difference if we give them a chance and actively engage them in ministry.”

“It’s great to know that you’ve taken an active role in the global connection,” says Kristin Mikels, a junior at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., and chairperson of faith formation for the Division on Ministries With Young People. “Above all, it is great to know that every dollar or penny donated to the Youth Service Fund is a part of something great.”

“The Youth Service Fund is both a financial foundation and a leadership tool,” says Robert Starkey, a high school junior in Saginaw, Mich. “It is truly an excellent product of the connectional system.”

Mikels says when she first heard about Youth Service Fund she was shocked to learn the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference hadn’t taken a very active role.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo courtesy of Board of Discipleship

The Clubhouse program, hosted at nine churches in Dayton, Ohio, receives support from the Youth Service Fund.
“Once attention was brought to the program, it opened up many new possibilities and opportunities for youth in Northern Illinois, as well as youth around the world,” she says.

“I encourage all youth groups and organizations related to youth ministry to look into applying,” Starkey says. “Conferences distribute seed-money grants for new youth groups or for mission trips. Youth everywhere can be proud of the funds recently distributed.”

Backpacks, compact-disc holders, luggage tags, picture frames and pens with the YSF logo are available for annual conferences and districts to purchase in order to raise money and awareness to promote the fund. Proceeds will benefit the national portion of YSF.

Applications for the Youth Service Fund are due June 1 for funding in the following calendar year. Projects funded by the Youth Service Fund for 2006 are:
  • Christian Methodist Youth Development Centre, $4,000, Tamale Northern Region ? Ghana;
  • Computer Typing, Printing, Copying & Internet Café, $7,000, Zimbabwe West Annual Conference;
  • Cup of Cold Water Project, $9,000, Johnson City, Tenn.;
  • Faith “Engine” Ministry, $6,000, Cambodia;
  • Freshman Initiative, $5,000, Durham, N.C.;
  • Growing Up Hip-Hop, Living by Faith, $8,000, New York;
  • Home Repair Services, $5,000, Alamosa, Colo.;
  • Hope Computer Center, $6,000, Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Life Skills & Mushroom Project, $8,000, Harare, Zimbabwe;
  • Martial Arts Outreach Ministry, $5,000, Grand Prairie, Texas;
  • Prime Time Ministry, $8,000, Fort Myers, Fla.;
  • Sidewalk Ministries Social Justice Response, $4,000, Phoenix;
  • Stevensville Youth Center, $7,000, Stevensville, Mich.;
  • WHUMC Youth Outreach Program, $6,000, Chattanooga, Tenn.; and
  • Youth Leadership Council, $3,000, Pensacola, Fla.

The Shared Mission Focus on Young People formerly administered grants for ministries with young people. Money for the grants comes from the World Service Fund. Applications for grants are due July 1 for funding in the following calendar year.

Grants for ministries with young people for 2006 are:

  • 1ForGud, $ 7,000, Abo, Finland;
  • Bishop’s Young Adult Initiative, $5,000, Colorado;
  • Camp: A Time for Recovery & Renewal, $4,000, Monrovia, Liberia;
  • Engaging Future Religious Leaders, $7,000, Illinois;
  • Graffiti Playground, $6,000, Tennessee;
  • Ilocos S. District Christian Youth Dev., $2,500, Ilocus Sur, Philippines;
  • Kirch im Container, $ 7,000, Berlin, Germany;
  • Leadership Dev: A New Generation, $5,000, Virginia;
  • Meet-Me-Halfway Worship & Newspaper, $5,000, Maryland;
  • National Visitation & Leadership Development, $7,000, Monrovia, Liberia;
  • Sanctuary Live: Take it to the Street, $4,000, West Virginia;
  • SOAR, $5,000, South Carolina;
  • Super Saturday Deaf Youth Group, $7,000, Maryland;
  • Training Youth Leaders Program, $6,000, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Y.E.S.! (Youth Evangelizing Successfully), $5,000, Georgia;
  • Young Adult Leadership Academy, $5,000, Michigan; and
  • Youth Theological Initiative at Candler, $2,500, Georgia.

Information about the Youth Service Fund and grants can be found at or by calling (877) 899-2780, Ext. 7184, or writing to

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or

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