Life Change Kid Story Blog:

Sign-up to get Life Changing kid stories delivered to your email…
 

God is good . . .

Over a year ago I wrote about Seasons and how we all were experiencing a season like no other with the COVID virus and an uncertain economy. I wrote about how the needs of young people have only increased during unsettling times and how uncertainty can produce huge amounts of fear in us requiring wisdom, faith, and courage. Wisdom, to understand reality. Faith, to trust God and take appropriate action. Courage is always a part of faith because we must act on convictions of things unseen. I mentioned how young people need you as well, how they rely on 71Five and 71Five relies on your faithful and courageous investment in the work.
 
A year and a half later all of us have faced challenges, some great and some small. At 71Five we experienced loss, things haven’t always gone our way, and work has been harder than we thought. I wrote the words above even before the hardship of the local fires. But… I can tell you… God has been so good! We’ve seen huge numbers of kids involved with our programs, we’ve literally saved lives of kids considering suicide, and our building projects are completed despite huge cost increases and delays due to the pandemic and fires. Best of all, young people are experiencing the eternal and indestructible hope found in Jesus. Please hear me when I say thank you! Thank you to God who has been so faithful and to you for being the way in which He provided so much!
 
BUD AMUNDSEN,  71Five Executive Director  
(541) 301-0897 | bud@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB
 

Read more...

How could I not be happy?

At 71Five’s Middle School Camp, we had small group discussions in our cabin after Chapel. During one session, I shared a few pertinent details of my testimony. Sometimes you never quite know if kids are listening, but you just hope they are. Shortly after, I walked by Natalie and she shook her head saying, “I just can’t see it…I just can’t see it.” I laughed and curiously asked, what can’t you see? She said, “I just can’t see you like that…and now, now you’re just so…happy!” Her tone was that of confusion and happiness together. I laughed with her and said, “I know! Even though I didn’t really know God in my youth, He was protecting me and helped me find my way to Him where I found forgiveness, redemption, peace, and true happiness. So how could I not be happy?”
 
The next morning Natalie so sweetly asked if I would be the one to baptize her that day. I was excited for her and honored to be a part of her story! Sometimes when you think you’re not making a difference in a young person’s life, God has a way of showing you the truth and blessing you along the way. Thank you for making 71Five Camp happen. A place where kids can feel safe, relate with others, and find the Way, the Truth, and the Life… where they can find Jesus.
 
DARLENE HARPER,  71Five Mentors Coordinator  
(805) 202-9125 | darlene@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

Where are you?

While at 71Five VoTech, one student, Thom, was very open to share his love for Jesus with the other students. Admittedly, his bible knowledge was sometimes a little off, but he told me that he felt called to help anyone that needed to hear a good word. I usually didn’t correct him on the spot as I knew his heart was in the right place. I realized I hadn’t seen him for a while, so I shot him a text. I asked if he would like to come to my house for dinner sometime. He texted me right back saying, “Yes, how about tomorrow?” The next day I called him. So, where are you, I asked. He said he was downtown walking. I asked if I could swing by and pick him up. He agreed and as we drove, we talked. I found out that he moved out of his house and was living in the laundry room of a family that took him in. Also, he was working almost full time and trying his best to do well. At our house we had dinner and watched a little TV. Then on the way home he started to talk. He shared how important God was in his life and he new that God was there taking care of him. As I let him out in the middle of town, I told him he can come over anytime. He smiled and thanked me and as he turned to go, with tears welling up, he told me that I was a very special person in his life. As I drove off, noticeably harder to see and the wipers were no help, I thought back and answered my own question. I know where you are Thom. In the center of Gods love.
 
You my friends are the reason there is Trust that leads to Hope for so many youth who have no meaningful adult relationships. Thank you for continuing to build these trusting relationships.
 
LARRY LICATO,  71Five VoTech Coordinator  
(541) 890-1819 | larry@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

in front of everyone

It isn’t easy for teens to open up in front of a large group. Makayla is pretty shy and doesn’t normally open up about her past, but at 71Five HS Camp she got up in front of everyone and shared her story. “It’s so cool, because I didn’t even know who Jesus was when I literally cried out to Him, asking Him to save me.” What I love most about Makayla’s story, is that when she was little, she called out to Jesus in faith to give her a better life. At the time, she had no idea who Jesus was. She’d never been to church and no one had even mentioned His name. A week later God brought her out of the traumatic home and opened a door for her to live with her dad. Makayla decided to step up and share with others that she looks back and remembers that Jesus is always faithful and always answers prayers.
 
Thank you for providing 71Five Middle and High School Summer Camps and investing in these young lives.
 
PETER KUHL,  71Five Campus – Eagle Point Coordinator  
(541) 630-0648 | peter@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

Hope for Gen Z

Billy, who faithfully attends our high school club, told me how he has been reading the book of Colossians and was excited about what he’s learning. He mentioned he wanted our high school club to read and talk about it during our discussion time. He said, “I like how it shows a new way of life… I also like that it shows that the family of God is multiethnic.” For Billy to see how relevant and life changing the book of Colossians can be, is awesome.
 
To see our youth read and understand the Bible for themselves is super cool! I recently read a study that said 4% of Gen Z has a biblical worldview and is the least Christian generation in US history. The study also said they’re the loneliest generation in history, but amazingly are willing to trust adults who take the time to get to know them. Because of your support we can do this.
 
Thank you so much for bringing the only true hope in the world to the kids of this generation!
 
SHANE SKIRVIN,  71Five City – Liberty Park Coordinator  
(541) 646-1475 | shane@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

Dance Party!

We are going to have a dance party! For most kids, a dance party is something to get excited about but for Katie, not so much. She started to recluse, mope around, and became slightly insolent. I picked up on these behaviors and knew something was triggering anxiety within her. My heart became saddened, and I felt a deep sorrow for her.
 
Later that day, Katie and I had been sitting together when she blurted out “I don’t want to go to the dance, I hate dances!” I tried to encourage her and tell her all the reasons she should go and convince her of how much fun it would be. She continued to tell me she did not want to go. She said that the reason she hated dances is because her dad had taken her to a father daughter dance and left her there. She was devastated. She was re-living that devastation every time she heard the word “dance.” Our conversation concluded with me telling her she didn’t have to go to the dance, I understand, and I care.
 
The story doesn’t end there. To make it short, the night ended with her and I on the dance floor! We laughed, danced, jumped, screamed, ran around, and acted silly! The pain that Katie feels from what her father did cannot miraculously disappear but the pain that was associated with the word “dance” can. By providing a place where youth feel secure, delivering a message of real hope, and by being people kids can truly count on, we are seeing lives like Katie’s be transformed.
 
FARRAH GUTHRIE,  71Five Campus – Grants Pass Coordinator  
(541) 840-6544 | farrah@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

Trapped

We met Beth when she was just 19 years old… 12 weeks pregnant with her second child, detoxing off a recent high, and preparing to go into rehab. Beth shared that she has only known addicts. Her desire was to get clean, be a good mom, help her boyfriend get clean, and truly seek God. After 5 weeks of rehab, she was moved to a facility near her boyfriend. She escaped at her first chance to go back to her old life. Beth really wants to change, but the trap of addiction controls her and hinders her ability to change. Her time with 71Five Parents was cut short, but the connections she made with our 71Five volunteers and peers can still lead her to hope, and help break the cycle of destruction in her life.
 
Thank you for caring about 71Five, and the lives that are being reached. I hope one day soon you can read about Beth’s freedom from addiction.
 
TERESA TONINI,  71Five Parents Coordinator  
(541) 941-1143 | teresa@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

Retreat!

Retreat! Sometimes we just need to get away from everything to remember who we are. That is what it was like for Brenna. On the third night at 71Five’s Middle School Camp this last week, she reflected, “I have not felt this able to be myself in a long time. I feel good.” We can see the value in drawing back from the world in the life of Jesus. He retreats to the wilderness time and time again to reconnect with God and disconnect from the world’s distractions. Each time he returned, he was filled with the Spirit, ready to take on the world (literally) being grounded in the trusting relationship He has with His Father. What an encouraging thought: that Jesus gave us access to the Father in that same way. 
 
71Five offer kids like Brenna, who has been attending for about a year, trusting relationships that lead to a life of hope – a life walking in tandem with Jesus. Thank you for your continued prayer and partnership with 71Five Campus in Phoenix and Talent. God is moving through your efforts!
 
TYLER CIENFUEGOS,  71Five Campus – Phoenix Talent Assistant Coordinator  
(360) 201-7176 | tyler@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

invited

A year ago, Oscar walked right into the middle of my teaching and started greeting everyone. He didn’t seem to care that I was in the middle of a lesson. As I approached him it became apparent he was intoxicated. When class was over I prayed with him and invited him back… He did come back, he also quit drinking, and over the next couple months Oscar transformed right before our eyes. As the relationship grew he shared about his wife and kids. When Oscar missed a couple classes I went to see him. He said, “I need to focus on my family.” I asked if I could pray with him and offered to bring lunches for the kids. He accepted both. Oscar wasn’t attending class but the lunches kept us connected. When Station 71Five Community Center opened I was blessed to see Oscar’s big van pull up and unloaded all 6 of his kids! The kids have become a core part of our weekly Kids Club. They are tuned into our “faith talks” and my relationship with Oscar and his family is stronger than ever.
 
Thank you for giving families a safe place to come and grow together.
 
KEN RUIZ  71Five City – West Medford Coordinator  
(916) 519-4679 | ken@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...

Hearts Change

It’s been interesting at 71Five Campus-Gold Hill lately. As club goes on week after week, I’ve noticed the youth who attend are growing closer to one another. Although, I haven’t seen them walk super close with God yet… It’s encouraging to see them learning to trust each other. A wise man once told me, “Kids often don’t listen to what you have to say until they know how much you care.” How true! I love how all the Friday night clubs and time spent with this special group has been used to demonstrate how much we care, and more importantly, how much God cares for them! I look forward to seeing what God is going to do through these trusting relationships that lead to hope in Jesus.
 
At 71Five, we reach lost and hurting youth in our community to see hearts change. Thank you for praying and supporting these kids who return to 71Five week after week to hear a life with Jesus is a life filled with hope… and an eternal relationship with God. Please pray for open ears and hearts at Middle School 71Five Camp this week.
 
DANIEL PETERSON,  71Five Campus – Gold Hill Coordinator  
(541) 761-7589 | daniel@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

Read more...