Now consider this. 75% of children/adolescents in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families. More than one half of all youths incarcerated for criminal acts lived in one-parent families when they were children. 63% of suicides are individuals from single parent families. 75% of teenage pregnancies are adolescents from single parent homes. Not to mention increased risks for poor academic performance, dropping out of school, drug and alcohol abuse, violent behavior, and criminal activity.
So, what can we do?
First, make sure we’re meeting the emotional needs of our own children and grandchildren. The movie Courageous put a spotlight on the plight of fatherless kids and encouraged fathers to step up, even in their own homes. Being physically or financially present is not enough.
Second, get to know the other kids in your area and find a way to reach them. Here are a few amazing organizations that I found:
- Christian Service Brigade — CSB Ministries provides weekly programs that enable men to mentor and disciple groups of boys through adventure-packed, action-filled experiences that grow young men closer to God…and equip them to be our leaders of tomorrow. They have programs operating through churches across the country.
- GEMS Girls’ Clubs — GEMS Girls’ Clubs offers a relationship-building club program for girls in first through eighth grade that includes stories, crafts, games, and badges. Clubs are active in local churches throughout North America.
- The Motion Initiative — A ministry in Grand Rapids, Michigan that uses a bicycle shop to teach urban kids mechanical skills and offer them the opportunity to earn their own bicycle in addition to mentoring, races, mobile shops, and other outreach opportunities. Part of the United in Christ Ministries that partners with multiple local churches to also offer summer camps, Vacation Bible School, and academic mentoring.
When it comes to creatively reaching the kids in your neighborhood, these organizations are just the tip of the iceberg. Just Google Bible Clubs for oodles more resources, ideas, and organizations including starting a backyard Bible club. If you can’t link up and volunteer with a program already in place, maybe you can start something yourself.
Reach a kid and change the rest of their life.
What about you? Did you ever participate in a Bible club or Vacation Bible School as a child? What was your experience like? Would you be interested in doing something like this for the next generation?