From the summer of 2016 to April of this year I have led a Youth Justice team comprised of 12 high school students from three different local faith communities. The overarching goal of the initiative was to help young men and women learn the value of justice through some theological groundwork and practical experience in the city.
We have assisted those experiencing homelessness at Alameda Park and through sock outreach on State Street. We have learned about various sub-cultures of at risk youth and been connected to such agencies as Noah’s Anchorage and the Transition House. We have also learned to advocate in front of the Santa Barbara City Council and before our local faith communities.
I am very thankful for the willingness of these students to add something to their schedule and accomplish the goals set before us. In April the students hosted their own Family Carnival and Silent Auction for the Transition House and raised $566.00 for the families who are staying there. (The photo is off our team and those who also assisted with the fundraiser) The funds will be used for gifts cards for children and youth who are staying there to purchase a few items of their choosing.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
There is no doubt that it is the responsibility of the older generation to pass on the value of justice to the younger generation. It is not something that I have seen the church intentionally and strategically push forward. This is why I integrated this program into my life with SBACT – to prioritize justice and mercy and see the next generation embrace them in practice. I believe these students will be able to do so now – and they can be bold in discovering avenues for to advocate for the local poor.
Thank you again for your support which makes all this possible! Thanks as well to Montecito Covenant, Free Methodist Church, and Oceanhills for going along with the journey!