Jonesboro, AR – CityYouth Ministries in Jonesboro is focusing on youth to ensure every child at risk is given a future by offering many different services for the children. On Wednesday, the co-directors, Jason Bowen and Rennell Woods spoke to members of the Jonesboro Kiwanis Club about non-profit organization’s services.
"We focus on youth. They are the future of this community. They are the future of this nation. And the more that we can do the better," Bowen said.
In concern of the children’s future Bowen added, "With the new year you think about new hope, about new beginnings. There are so many youth in Jonesboro struggling to find hope of any kind. You look at some of their home lives, and it (represents) some of the most horrific circumstances you can imagine.
"They come from all kinds of abuse and neglect, and if we're not careful, kids are going to start falling through the cracks and go unnoticed. CityYouth is trying to do everything possible to ... make sure that these kids don't fall through the cracks."
The ministry especially focuses on serving emotional and physical needs of children. In addition to providing meals and snacks, CityYouth offers a variety of programs, including roller skating, indoor sports, homework sessions, tutoring, arts and crafts and summer camps.
"We know that different things reach different people. We've got to reach out in a variety of ways to make sure we catch everyone. That way none of these kids fall through the cracks," Bowen said.
CityYouth is also trying to provide the spiritual needs of children through Bible studies and sharing devotions.
"We want them to develop personal accountability and spiritual values so that one day a lot of these at-risk kids will not wind up hooked on drugs and falling through the cracks, but wind up standing here with us hand and hand with others who need help," Bowen said.
Bowen reports about difficult financial situation of the organization and he encourages more community members to volunteer and be actively involved with the ministry. CityYouth is an agency of the United Way of Greater Jonesboro, but it receives the majority of its funding through other avenues.
"We want to reach more kids. We need volunteers and funding to do that. That is our prayer and our request. There are so many out there," he added.
Bowen said there are "limitless opportunities to get involved in their lives. And when you take that step, you're allowed to see with your own eyes the lives that are forever changed when someone -- anyone -- reaches out in kindness."
"You see families and children who are radically changed forever. You're able to cry with them and pray with them and see what just a small bit of your time can mean."