I’m not a big Facebook fan, but. . .

Personally, I’m not a big fan of Facebook and other social media sites but I maintain a presence because I never know how God might use it for His purposes. Yesterday I received this from Michelle: “Hey Matt, are you still available for check in’s?”
It’s been a decade since I last heard from Michelle. Now 26, the days she spent in juvenile detention are long gone but a relationship forged in difficult times is still important. I’m looking forward to hearing about her life and continuing to encourage her toward the Lord.
This isn’t the first message like this I’ve received through Facebook and I pray it isn’t the last. Trusting relationships should never end and ‘my kids’ from all of those years ago still hold a special place in my heart.
Trusting relationships and sharing God’s story of hope, this is the work of 71Five. Thank you for being a part of it.
MATT SWEENEY,  71Five Ministry Director  
(541) 301-8552 | matt@71Five.org
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB


Building Better Futures

I counted 16 of them in the room that evening… kids really, yet not kids. They ranged in age from 16 to 19 and all of them were in the Transitional Living Program run by Hearts with a Mission. The transition they’re working on is from childhood to adulthood and Larry & I were there to help. Larry is the 71Five VoTech Director and together we spoke about the career & life opportunities 71Five offers through vocational training. After the pulled pork, we talked about the future… their future. 71Five VoTech exists to build better futures both here with career & life skills as well as a future of eternal life through Jesus.
When we were done most of these budding adults asked for applications but what they were really asking for, was hope and vision for a better tomorrow. Right now, 71Five VoTech needs men & women skilled in the trades, willing to share and help build that vision. Call us and let’s talk about how you can change lives. MATT SWEENEY 71Five Ministry Coordinator (541) 779-3275 matt@71Five.org LARRY LICATO 71Five VoTech Director
(541) 779-3275 larry@71Five.org
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB


Generations Bring Hope

In ministry, I’ve learned to think in terms of generations. When ministering to kids, we consider the effect it will have on the children that will come from this child in front of us today. When 71Five develops new ministry team members, we work to help them keep one eye on the future and how the ministry will look as they one day hand it off to the next generation. Today, 71Five reaches out to kids and families that struggle and yet we do this work while building for the future to serve broken kids that are not yet born. They too will need the power and love of God displayed in their lives. I, personally, won’t be here to serve them but team members we teach today and those who follow them will be for years after I’m gone. The key: God will always be here!
Youth 71Five Ministries is built on the work of generations of ministers who began building on the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Constantly building on a firm foundation to bring hope into the lives of kids through a trusting relationship with our Savior remains the calling we follow. MATT SWEENEY 71Five Ministry Coordinator (541) 779-3275 matt@71Five.org
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 icb


Immeasurable Joy!

I had just placed an order, handed the menus back to our waiter and settled in for some quiet conversation with my best friend. . . Across the table was my wife and we were in the Mexican restaurant just down from our home. Almost like a scene from a movie, a head suddenly popped out from the side of the booth behind Jan and the 20-something young lady asked; “Are you Matt Sweeney? My name is Cheryl and I was in juvenile detention some years ago.” Jan has serve with me in the detention center and we both immediately responded, “Wow! Yes, I do remember you.” Cheryl was having dinner with her husband and their 2-year-old son. Rubbing her swelling tummy, she declared; “This is our daughter. She’ll be born in November.” It had been a few years since we last crossed paths and it was a great blessing to see Cheryl along with her growing family. She was quick to let us know she still attends church and the joy in her eyes reflected the joy in her heart.
God blesses us from time to time when we learn that some of the seeds planted over many years in detention has landed on good soil. Here before us we saw evidence of God growing a crop of faith in Cheryl and her family through Youth 71Five Ministries. The joy this gives cannot be measured. Thank you for scattering seeds for the Kingdom of God— we see trust that leads to hope. MATT SWEENEY 71Five Connect Director & Ministry Coordinator (541) 779-3275 matt@71Five.org
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 icb


VoTech has stepped in!

Hope… a single syllable that says a lot yet for too many kids it is a concept they can’t grasp. At Youth 71Five we regularly teach the critical truth of God’s love and grace found through Jesus Christ… What about the kid who has no skills or vision for a real living wage career? 71Five VoTech exists to impart the basic skills, vision, and hope young men and women need to transition into healthy adult life. This is the kind of guidance that should come from dad or mom but too many kids don’t have healthy parents, but VoTech has stepped in! In the last few months Mike and David have been learning to weld while Luke is learning to bend sheet metal, others are becoming carpenters and learning mechanics. I should mention Mike and David are in a residential treatment program and Luke is on probation but, not long ago, they were all locked up and couldn’t see a path to a hopeful future. This is 71Five VoTech and it is one more way lives are being changed with the hope of Jesus Christ lived out in daily life. If you have a skill to share we would really like to talk with you. Please call 779-3275 or email office@71Five.org and let’s connect. Youth 71Five… providing trust that leads to hope! MATT SWEENEY 71Five VoTech Ministry Coordinator (541) 779-3275 matt@71Five.org
NewsWatch 12 KDRV.com Video: 71Five VoTech giving young adults a second chance1
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5ICB


With good behavior and God’s blessing

In most of these stories you receive from us the names are changed to protect people’s privacy but not this time. . . Ellie came to juvenile detention in October 2017. Though her first time in detention, the charges were huge with consequences life changing for many. During the year and a half for her case to move through the system trusting relationships with 71Five staff were built. Today, Ellie resides in a youth correctional facility where she will stay for the next decade or more. After that she will transfer to adult corrections to complete her sentence. With good behavior and God’s blessing, Ellen Friar will walk into freedom about the time she turns 35. In a statement Ellie told how her heart and life have been changed through her introduction to and forgiveness from Jesus Christ. She publicly declared; “it was the 71Five ministry team that introduced me to God.”
We are committed to Ellie’s ongoing growth, healing and discipleship. Through her journey many more broken lives will likely be touched by the love of God. From one generation to the next, the Good News brings hope and you provide the bridge of trusting relationships. Thank you! MATT SWEENEY 71Five Connect Director & Ministry Coordinator (541) 779-3275 matt@71Five.org
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 icb


a Senior Project

The first meeting… there’s always a ‘first meeting’ with every kid. This is the time to get acquainted… but more importantly, it is time to lay a foundation of trust and respect. Like steel in concrete, trust & respect create a solid base upon which to build a relationship and become positioned to share the hope that can be found in knowing God & His Son, Jesus. Yesterday was the first meeting with Michael & Jeff. As their Senior Project to graduate from Central High School they will partner with me to set up and host the next 71Five Connect Workshop. As 71Five Connect alumni, they know its value to their fellow students. I must encourage, challenge, and help build them to become more than they are, to have a greater vision for who they might become. First meetings are critical because from small beginnings the course of a life may be changed for all eternity.
God has opened a door through Youth 71Five Ministries for more of His people to bring life-changing hope into the lives of kids… join us in the mission.- MATT SWEENEY, 71Five Connect Director and Ministry Coordinator matt@71five.org