Miami Youth for Christ Update: “They treated me like I was one of them.”

My first year as a leader of a City Life KIX program, one girl brought her friend to KIX.  Her pregnant friend.  Her six months pregnant friend.  Her six month pregnant friend who tragically lost her 2 year old son months earlier.  Her six months pregnant friend who tragically lost her son and then had to talk about it on local, state and national news. Her grieving, hurting, haunted friend.

Not knowing what else to do, we just included this girl in everything.  One of my favorite videos (tragically lost to time) was of us playing blindfolded kickball.  Midway through the video, a pregnant teen waddles across the screen, laughing at her friend and trying to catch a foul ball.  We just did life with her as best we could.

A month later, at our Thanksgiving meal, we asked each kid to say what they were thankful for.  When it came to this girl, I thought she might say she was thankful this pregnancy was going well.  Or that the news anchors had started leaving her alone.  Or that a lawyer was representing her son to help cover costs of the funeral and counseling.

But instead she said, “I’m grateful ya’ll don’t treat me any different.”

She just wanted to be a kid.

And I was reminded of her this week, when one of our staff sent this excited text:

And I’m filled with pride because I know this is new to this staff member.  And I know she is helping these two kids experience exactly what they want: the dignity of being treated like everyone else.

We need more adults to help us do this.  There are 300,000 teens in Miami who need to know what it means to live with freedom, who know they are accepted and loved, who know they don’t need to be treated like they are abused, abandoned, or weird.  They just want to be included with everyone else.  Will you help them?

-Johanna Ralsten-Cox, Miami YFC Ministries