Making Sure Kids Always Have a Home

Posted on by Bonnie Rodriguez

Like many teens, Daniel struggled with his self-image. One of his main concerns was what others thought about him – when others would whisper around him, he automatically assumed that they were talking about him, and the fear and disconnection in his heart just grew.

How does a student survive this social isolation and loneliness? For Daniel, it was his youth group. “If I didn’t have youth group, then I would’ve been depressed and suicidal,” Daniel says.  “It was my outlet.”  At youth group, Daniel could talk about what he felt and have conversations with caring adults who listened and believed him.

Daniel knew other teens did not have the same safe community he did, and after college, he felt called to do something about that!  Since 2006, Daniel has devoted his life to creating safe places for lost youth as a Campus Life Leader. “It’s not just a job. It is a calling,” says Daniel. 

Today, Daniel works with students at MAST Senior High School who remind him a lot of himself. Academically-driven, motivated achievers who often feel isolated and disconnected, just like he did. “It’s easier to see the issues with kids in other schools…like lack of food or home needs not being met. At MAST, the issues are not so obvious on the surface, but kids are struggling with feeling like their identity is based on their performance, and I can relate to that.”

Letting youth know that no matter who they are or where they go, they always have a home in the real, living, and active Christ – seeing that lightbulb go off makes Daniel’s work worth it.

At YFC, volunteer and staff leaders like Daniel are empowered to share their own stories to let youth know the truth Jesus spoke of in John 16:33 – though we will have trouble in this world, we can take heart! Jesus has overcome the world and will always be with us.  It’s truth has resonated in the hearts of Miami youth for over 72 years.

Written by Chris Jeong, Campus Life Site Director

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