Reaching across church walls to reach our neighbors.
For many years, the walls of distrust and division have kept the church from being the church
Churches in Action
Iglesias en Acción
In Guatemala our youth are facing issues with all of these issues. But there is hope, our chapter in Guatemala provides support and services through a program entitled "Drug Free World". The program reaches almost 15,000 youth per year, currently there are 6,000 youth enrolled in the program. Here is how it works...
The program "Drug Free World" is a multi-pronged approach working with parents, adolescents, local Mayors, school systems, and the justice system. The goal of the program is to get to students early before the use and addictions begin. A goal which is not always possible, as there are many gangs who prey upon the adolescents, especially those who may be emotionally, mentally, or physically abused at home etc. The gangs provide them the drugs and ultimately draw them into the gangs.
When parents feel their child is behaving differently, perhaps becoming a troubled student etc, they reach out to our program leaders. Various questions are asked about the behavior etc. Once the parental meeting has been held, The leaders then speak with the adolescent to determine the root cause for the behavioral change, what may have led to the drug and alcohol use, if it is occurring, and then work to help the adolescent overcome the drug and/or alcohol addiction.
The leaders also reach out to and engage the mayors of the various cities in an effort to obtain access to the schools within each mayor’s city. Once obtained, they meeting with the students in a group, talk about the various drugs and different alcoholic drinks, the various addiction levels, and personally share their own stories of their past. When the group gathering is completed, they often are approached by individual students who seek a deeper conversation about getting out of drugs or alcohol.
For those who have been convicted of crimes and are in juvenile detention centers, the leaders work with the justice system to engage these adolescent drug and alcohol users. If the users commit to the program usually within six to 12 months he or she will graduate from the program, and many if not most become healthy law abiding citizens.
What will it take for Churches In Action to be able to continue to help these at risk youth and adolescents?