Category Archives: Newsletter Articles

Program Highlight

Feeding Hungry Children in Jesus’ Name

Child with Food“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink… Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Matt. 25:35, 40

This summer, you have the opportunity to give food to the hungry. Your gift to Youth Haven will provide delicious, nutritious food for a boy or girl in need. Children who are used to going to bed hungry can eat their fill of good food because you care. And when those children see that someone cares about their basic needs, their hearts soften when they hear about the love of Jesus.

God has blessed Youth Haven with two wonderful cooks, who are passionate about what they do because of their tremendous love for these kids. Thank you for supporting Matt and Katelyn, and sharing in this important aspect of our ministry!

Volunteer Corner: Summer 2017

Volunteers

Volunteers help provide a safe, fun environment for disadvantaged children to enjoy. They give hundreds of hours ensuring our facilities are kept in good condition for the children, keeping our clothing and toys organized, sending birthday cards, and more.

During our Volunteer Work Day on May 20, many of our volunteers worked together to prepare our Michigan campus for the summer program. Our Adopt-a Facility groups have also been hard at work, cleaning the dorms and getting them ready for larger numbers of children. Many hands make light work, and we’re so thankful for everyone who has given of their time to serve the children in this way!

We would also like to thank Sandy Dean, who puts in as many hours as a full-time employee, but does so as a volunteer. Sandy’s husband Dave serves as our Arizona Campus Manager, and Sandy is an integral part of the ministry as well.

Thank you to all of our volunteers! To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please visit www.youthhaven.org.

Summer 2017: Delivered

2015 Pool (130)

This year’s summer camp theme is “Delivered,” and the children are learning about the exciting adventure of the Israelites when God delivered them out of slavery in Egypt. You are making it possible for these kids to discover that God also loves them and has a special plan for them, just like He did for the Israelites!

This summer, your gifts and prayers will help provide disadvantaged boys and girls with…

  • food
  • shelter
  • fun activities that help improve social skills, teamwork, physical health, creativity, and self-confidence
  • clothing and shoes when needed
  • caring mentors and positive role models
  • Biblical teaching and a Youth Haven Trailbook (customized Bible) to take home
  • follow-up materials to remind them of everything they learned and invite them to return

Thank you for caring about children in need!

Finding Purpose

A Week at Summer Camp can Change a Child’s Life!

Children

“They are very troubled kids but have great potential to be something someday.”

These words could describe so many of the children who come to Youth Haven! In particular, they are the words of a soon-to-be adoptive mother of three children who are scheduled for summer camp at Youth Haven.

The oldest of the three siblings is in fifth grade and has already lived in 11 or 12 homes. The children were removed from their birth home due to domestic violence and drug abuse. They have been in foster care most of their lives, and parental rights were terminated two years ago.

When you support Youth Haven, you give troubled kids a chance to discover their potential to do something great with their lives. Maybe they’ll uncover a hidden talent in arts and crafts, or learn that they’re good at sports. Perhaps the encouraging words of a staff member or teen volunteer will be just what they need to boost their self-confidence. Without a doubt, they’ll hear that God loves them and has a special purpose for them!

Thank you for providing a way for these three children – and hundreds of others like them – to come to Youth Haven this summer. You are helping them become the young men and women God designed them to be!

center

Congratulations!

Marilyn WordenWe would like to extend our congratulations to Marilyn Worden, who recently retired after serving faithfully at Youth Haven for more than 35 years! Marilyn’s ministry here has impacted the lives of countless children, volunteers, supporters, and all who were privileged to serve alongside her. Her commitment to excellence and attention to detail have kept things running smoothly and efficiently in our Constituent Services department, processing gifts and making sure each person knows how much we appreciate their support. It can truly be said of Marilyn that she lives the words of Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” We will certainly miss having her in the office every day, but we know God will continue to use her and her husband Skeets in the days to come! Please join us in congratulating Marilyn on her retirement and praying for God’s blessings on her life as she makes this transition.

Program Update: Spring 2017

Proposed Activity Area

Proposed New Activity Area at our Arizona Campus!
We need your help to bring an exciting new activity area to our Arizona campus! The proposed outdoor space will include a colorful, state-of-the-art playground, basketball court, and octoball pit – all covered by canopies to protect the children from the intense Arizona sun! (Pictured above is the design proposed to us by Miracle Recreation.) This improvement will help keep the children active and engaged in a shaded outdoor environment. But we need your help to make it happen! Sun shades are a necessary but costly addition to the expense of the equipment, installation, soft ground cover for the playground, and concrete for the basketball court. We estimate the complete project will cost approximately $150,000. Please prayerfully consider giving a special gift toward this project. Let’s show these precious boys and girls they are worth it!

New Children’s Bibles!
Every child who attends our programs receives a customized Bible to take home, called the Youth Haven “Trailbook.” We are updating our Trailbooks to contain both the Old and New Testaments, a fully customized cover, and eight full-color pages on the inside, designed to teach the children how to use the Bible and apply its truth to their lives. We’re praising God for providing nearly 90% of the funds needed to place our first order of 3,000 Bibles, at a cost of approximately $8 per Bible. Thank you to everyone who has already given toward this project! If you would like to help provide the remaining funds, your gift could have an eternal impact on the life of a disadvantaged child!

Volunteer Corner: Spring 2017

Volunteers

Volunteer Work Day at the Michigan Campus, Saturday, May 20th
Are you looking for a spring project that will positively impact your community? We invite you to spend the day with us on Saturday, May 20th, helping prepare our Michigan grounds and facilities for the busy summer camp season! It’s a great opportunity to serve disadvantaged boys and girls locally by maintaining a safe, fun environment for them. A delicious lunch will be provided. For more details or to sign up, please contact Kristen at (517) 569-3328 or kristenh@youthhaven.org. Invite your youth group, small group, or family!

Arizona Volunteer Projects
Winter is a great time for volunteer projects at the Arizona campus! Over the past few months, volunteers have given hundreds of hours of service, accomplishing such tasks as painting, repairing termite damage at our Children’s Chapel, remodeling the Petting Barn, and installing new vinyl covers on the chairs in our dining hall. Volunteers are also busy constructing a new bouldering wall that will be a safe, fun adventure for the children. We are incredibly grateful for our many volunteer couples who regularly give of their time and talents to keep our campus running smoothly for the children!

Interested in Volunteering?
Volunteers make our ministry possible and impact the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children each year. Visit www.youthhaven.org/volunteer to learn more about our volunteer opportunities!

No Longer Abandoned

Abandoned Child

How Your Partnership Helped Change a Hurting Child’s Life

Jacob* didn’t have a lot of stability in his life when he first came to us, and he desperately needed someone to show him the love of Christ. Fortunately, his aunt cared enough to reach out to us for help. Here is her request:

Jacob was born to a mother who turned 15 the day before he was born… When Jacob was 14 months old his mother gave birth to his sister. Having 2 children at 16 proved to be overwhelming and his mother slipped into substances to help her cope. Jacob at that point started living with his dad (my brother) full time and Jacob’s sister started staying with me and my mother.

During the time that Jacob started living with his dad he became close to the woman that my brother was in a relationship with. That relationship failed and that new mother figure was gone. A few years pass and Jacob’s dad gets married and Jacob once again has a new “mommy.” That marriage has ended and once again Jacob is left without a “mother.”

Jacob’s biological mother is still out of the picture as she cannot be consistent and she is still battling addiction and trying to care for her 3rd and 4th children.

Jacob has been, for lack of a better word, abandoned by every female in his life that he considered a mommy and that he loved and counted on for protection and love… I think it is important that he is in a place that will help guide him to put his faith in God and learn that He is with us always and He will never abandon us. Jacob deserves to have a little calm and peace in his life and I think that this will probably be the only opportunity he will have for that.

Because of the generosity of ministry partners like you, we were able to provide a scholarship for Jacob to attend our programs free of charge. He accepted Christ as his Savior at Youth Haven and received his own Bible to take home. And Jacob has returned multiple times, allowing us to become a stable source of love and encouragement as we repeatedly share the love of Christ with him.

Thank you for helping this child learn that God loves him deeply and will never abandon him. Your partnership with us in ministry changes lives!

*Name changed for confidentiality.

Youth Haven Children

Your Support Changed Her Life!

One Child’s Story of Hope and Love

You gave the hope and love of Jesus Christ to a broken little girl.

Like many of the children who come to Youth Haven, Stacey* knows the pain of being removed from her home due to neglect and abuse. She has experienced the hurt of rejection by relatives who took her in, only to decide they didn’t want to care for her because of her emotional needs.

Stacey even found herself living in a shelter on two separate occasions, when foster parents requested her removal from their home.

That’s when a colleague of Stacey’s case worker heard about her devastating situation and became a licensed foster parent so she could welcome Stacey into her home. She adopted her a year later.

But although Stacey has finally found a loving home, this sweet child still has deeply rooted hurts and memories that affect her behavior. So her adoptive mother reached out to Youth Haven with a request for help.

Of course, we were thrilled to have Stacey attend her first weekend at Youth Haven! She has returned regularly since that first visit, and received consistent, unconditional love and acceptance. Our staff have both encouraged and modeled positive behavior. And although we can’t erase her past, we can help her form new memories of fun times in a safe environment where she feels valued.

Most importantly, Stacey learned that God loves her and will never abandon or reject her. She accepted Christ as her Savior during her week of summer camp with us.

Because you cared, Stacey found the only hope that can truly make a lasting difference: the hope of Christ. She was only able to come to Youth Haven because our programs were available to her free of charge. Your support changed her life.

Thank you for making a difference in this little girl’s life, and in the lives of so many others who are struggling to overcome difficulties. With your continued help, disadvantaged children can know God loves them, and there is hope for the future!

*Name changed for confidentiality.

Children Playing at Youth Haven

You are Showing Hurting Children they are Loved!

By Katherine Lohrmann,
Michigan Children’s Program Lead

We have all heard before that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Yet when we pause and reflect on that truth for the hundredth time in our lifetime, it still is the comforting truth. He is not a shepherd who will run away when danger comes to His flock. If a wolf attacks, He will stand by and watch over His sheep. Though there are many sheep, the Good Shepherd knows them by name, and they know His voice. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

During one week of summer camp, there was a little boy who informed me his mom sent him to camp because she didn’t want him around – how she needed a break from him – how he was a problem. This story isn’t unusual for most children who come to Youth Haven, but this time it again pierced my heart.

Throughout the week, I watched this dear boy come to flourish in his own fantasy world. He liked to wear a costume, which was supported by the kitchen staff who offered him cardboard for his “armor.” The child loved to create things, so his Team Leader ensured they got to go to the craft building, even though it isn’t the typical activity for older boys. As he frequently would wander off, support staff would offer a helping hand by giving an extra “body” to the team – how this boy loved that one on one time!

The final evening of the retreat, my new friend asked if I would sit with him for the fireworks (a special treat we were able to provide for the kids that week, thanks to the generous donations of some local fireworks companies). I was honored to reply with a resounding “Yes!” Though the fireworks were a truly magnificent sight, I think the sight I enjoyed most was watching this child’s jaw drop in awe and delight on that special evening. It was as is for just one week, his whole world of fantasy was true – it was as if he was being told, “This is all just for you, because you are wanted, you are special, and you are so loved.”

Youth Haven Children

For one boy, this week was magical. But this isn’t some “Magic Kingdom” propaganda. For this boy, it was the truth that the Good Shepherd will protect him from the lies he is being told at home – the Good Shepherd will call him by name – the Good Shepherd would bring all the crafts, fireworks, and billions of stars just to tell him how loved he is.

I suppose this was the summary of the week for one boy, but that story is the story of so many other children (and staff too!) God is up to amazing things – even if it be to show just one child how loved He is – using Youth Haven to do so!