Community Grant Supports Mentoring of At-Risk Youths



PRESS RELEASE – From Midland Young Life, March 2011

teenThe Midland County Youth Action Council through the Midland Area Community Foundation awarded a $5000 grant to Midland Young Life to support the start up of WyldLife, a Young Life mentoring program focused on 7th and 8th graders.  The Midland County Youth Action Council (MCYAC) is a group of energetic youth, from secondary schools all over Midland County, that is learning about philanthropy.  MCYAC is a project of the Midland Area Community Foundation, and is made possible through the Council of Michigan Foundations and supported by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.  The Midland Area Community Foundation strengthens our community by providing leadership, fostering collaboration on local needs and issues, and encouraging a legacy of giving through grants, scholarships, and events.  For more information, visit the MCYAC website at www.midlandfoundation.org/MCYAC.htm.

Young Life is an international, non-denominational outreach ministry founded in the 1940’s that reaches out to adolescents through volunteers and staff by building meaningful relationships with them. The organization was founded upon the principal that when adults build long-term mentoring relationships with teenagers there is a significant impact on today’s generation. YL International is now active in over 1500 high schools in the United States, as well as in hundreds of communities in countries around the world by meeting kids on their own turf - in their schools and neighborhoods. YL and WyldLife work collaboratively with parents, public schools, churches, and community groups to tackle the social problems that our young people face.  Young Life is known for its strong youth development work based on mentoring and service.

Young Life started in Midland in the mid-1960’s, and has been active at Midland and Dow High Schools throughout the last 45 years.  Thanks to MCYAC funding WyldLife, which has had national success for almost 20 years, is now being introduced to Central, Jefferson and Northeast students.  On a regular basis, dozens of high school and middle school students benefit from fun and engaging meetings where they can be themselves, feel accepted, and experience positive interactions with their peers, caring adults, and college-aged leaders.

A portion of the funding will be used to send at-risk middle school students to camp with the balance used to cover program costs.  The grant supports Midland Young Life’s concerted effort to impact the lives and future paths of Midland at-risk students by using its existing system of mentoring, while enabling students to experience high-adventure camp with a motivational purpose.  At camp, students listen to motivational messages and participate in challenging activities, as well as grow personally through friendships with their mentors and peers. These relationships continue and deepen in regular club meetings in Midland.

“Camp is often one of the best weeks of these students’ lives – and our mentor’s lives too,” said Jill Rainwater, Area Director of Midland Young Life. “The Youth Action Council’s generosity made this experience a reality for students who would not otherwise have been able to attend.”

“Midland Young Life has been bringing mentors and students to our camps for over 45 years and we are exceedingly grateful for the generous grant that was extended to us by the community,” said Adam Peterson, Chair of the Midland Young Life Committee. “Young Life reaches out to youth – all youth – to let them know they are valued and that they have huge potential. Midland is a community that strongly supports high-quality youth programs and this grant is a prime example of that support.”

To learn more, visit the Midland Young Life website at: www.MidlandYL.YL.org .