Two ministries have come together to give youth-at-risk hope and more opportunities.
Supporting At-Risk Youth (SARY) is a new national program that was developed to meet the growing needs of vulnerable young people by the Canadian Bible Society.
"SARY is a program we started last year in light of COVID but also as we talk to our partners about what was happening with at-risk youth, we identified that with COVID it heightened the need out there," says Tim Schultz, one of the Regional Directors with the Canadian Bible Society. "We started to approach some partners and I remember Kent from Bible college and recognized they were doing some good work with at-risk youth in Winnipeg, and we formed a partnership."
There are two prongs with SARY.
"One is to provide scripture resources for at-risk youth but also we felt like we should give a cash grant to programs that are helping at-risk youth," says Schultz.
Youth centers reaching out for support were indicating that 60-90 per cent of the young people they were serving on a daily basis were either considered homeless or running from an abusive situation at home.
"For us, it was really cool that we got some scriptures that were in Cree," says Kent Dueck, the Executive Director and Founder of Inner City Youth Alive (ICYA) in Winnipeg.
The two ministries are working together to help youth that is at risk.
"We got a devotional series on justice," says Dueck. "These days having that really solid Biblical picture of what justice is just so important. When you're doing ministry in the inner city, the challenges are huge. Sometimes you feel sort of isolated. To have Tim reach out, and say we notice what you're doing, and then to have that support financially for the programs, it's very valuable to us."
ICYA has run something called Gangster Church at the youth jail for the last few years. The focus is based on Scripture. The ministry also runs a drop-in and camp in the summers.
"For youth to find themselves in God's word and to say that I can be in that story, to also find out that God's heart always seems to align with people on the margins, it really is good news."