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Celebrating Youth Empowerment: Miami Youth for Christ's Transformative Impact

Posted at 10:12 AM, Jun 06, 2024

There is always something to celebrate in South Florida, especially when it involves empowering the youth. Recently, a momentous and uplifting evening was dedicated to honoring the impactful work of Miami Youth for Christ (YFC), an organization that has been transforming lives for over seven decades.

Youth for Christ is a global organization with a rich history of 78 years, and it has been serving Miami and Broward counties for 75 of those years. The organization's mission is to care for youth aged 11 to 19, focusing on those in underserved communities facing significant obstacles. "Our niche specifically are the kids in the most underserved communities, the kids that are facing hard obstacles, and we work to lift them up, to give them hope, to let them know that we believe in them," executive director Tia Diaz-Balart shared.

YFC offers a range of free educational and outreach programs designed to be inclusive and accessible to all youth throughout South Florida. The five core programs include the Miami Youth Leadership Initiative, Campus Life, Catalyst Hip Hop, Juvenile Justice Outreach, and City Life KIX. Collectively, these programs host 35 gatherings per week across 12 different sites, serving over 2,000 students annually. The impact on the students is profound, creating a strong sense of community and belonging.

For many participants, YFC has become a second family. One student, Shania Charles, shared, "To me personally, I think of Youth for Christ as a community. It's a place where people can actually connect to each other and form connections with people. Because every time I get a message that there's programs, I get so excited… It's like a second family to me, and I can just open up and share things."

The programs are not just about fun—they are transformational. Andrew Mendiola, another student, recounted their journey, saying, "Before the whole Youth for Christ thing I was lost. I used to do a bunch of crazy stuff…” Andrew says that he found role models through Youth For Christ that mentored him into the person he is today.

This year's YFC gala saw hundreds of guests gathering to celebrate and spur on South Florida's efforts to continue creating change. The event, held in Fort Lauderdale, showcased the positive impact YFC has on students' lives through testimonials, speeches, and performances. Florida football legend Tim Tebow also made a special appearance, encouraging attendees to serve South Florida with a sense of urgency. He posed a powerful question to the audience: "Are we really gonna show up for them? Are we really willing to do that?"

The message from the gala was clear: "Youth are so precious and so amazing. They deserve the best that we can give them. And so that's why we all need to come together as a community to lift our youth up, to give them those bright beautiful futures that every single one deserves," Tia Diaz-Balart emphasized.

To learn more about how you can support Youth for Christ and help spread their stories, visit MiamiYFC.com.

Inside South Florida

10:49 AM, Jul 26, 2019

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