Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The best place to look for direction is up!

So says True North Ministry, which is a non-profit Christian organization dedicated to helping incarcerated youth to reach their full potential in Jesus Christ. 
There are a variety of reasons behind the problems many young people find themselves caught up in today.  “Most of the kids who commit crimes and end up in a juvenile correctional institution suffer from the impact of a broken family and lack of positive peers, as well as a cultural epidemic of violence and abandoned morals”  according to True North’s website.  One study even suggests that in almost every case of an incarcerated youth, there has not been a single positive adult male role model.  Because True North believes that at-risk youth are in such great need of healthy relationships with adults, their focus is more on building these kinds of relationships, not just devising programs.
Statistically speaking, most of these youth are shown to become repeat offenders.  True North is out to convince them that statistics don’t have to determine their future, but their choices definitely will.  True North believes that their mission is to “liberate imprisoned youth” ~~ and that true liberation is possible when the way is pointed to Jesus Christ.  “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

The True North facility is located at 1060 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road in Green Township, and serves several juvenile correctional facilities in the State of Ohio in various ways throughout the year.  
The Christ Community Chapel person who coordinates ministry activities with True North is Carol Fitch.  Carol has volunteered her many gifts to True North for over ten years and is well acquainted with the needs.  Each Monday she goes to the offices with her willing heart and does whatever is needed.  She regularly writes thank you notes for the ministry, writes their blog posts, shops and each week, prepares lunch for about 15 people.  Carol also helps with a woman’s bible study at our church, Love Like Crazy, by bringing activities in for one of the outreach teams of ladies to work on which directly benefit the True North Ministry.  True North has an amazing Christmas outreach to the incarcerated youth which includes gifts and a personal note to each one.  Last year, over 500 of these gift bags were  prepared by volunteers.

Currently there are about 25 members of Christ Community Chapel who comprise a team that goes out once a month to the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center on Dan Street in Akron to share the Gospel with troubled youth.  Personal relationships and trust are built to the point that some come to know the Savior. Several other CCC members are engaged in serving True North by offering their time and talents when they are able to.

If you think God might be calling you to love mercy through serving the True North Ministry , please find contact information below.  Also listed are examples of specific needs.  God bless you as you prayerfully consider how you might regard the words of Jesus:
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me...truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25

  • one on one mentoring program
  • writing cards and letters of encouragement
  • teach basic carpentry or other skills
  • help with maintenance of the facility
  • donate for the remodeling of the facility
  • donate prepared lunches for 15-20 people
  • bake desserts or cookies
  • coordinate and collect specific items for Christmas bags
  • coordinate and collect specific items for juveniles being mentored
Becky Retzer, Director



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