The Young Life House is like any other house, except that the occupants are all men who volunteer for an organization called Young Life. Young Life is a nonprofit Christian youth outreach organization with the mission of mentoring youth. The occupants of the Young Life house are five young men, all in their mid-20s. They pay their own rent, hold jobs and attend local churches in the community. The main thing they have in common is the desire to volunteer with Young Life and share their home with teenagers.
“Young Life is so blessed to have these amazing young men, who are willing to not only volunteer their time for the organization but open their home up as well,” said Jen Moody, area director of Delta Young Life. “I wish I could say that Young Life pays for this house, but the truth is, we are a nonprofit organization that can barely afford our own program costs. The use of this house is a hospitable gift provided week after week by the guys, and we are so grateful for it.”
The name The Young Life House is a term of endearment created by the youth in the program. According to Andrew Troxell, one of the Young Life leaders living in the house, “I love that they call it The Young Life House because it helps kids to feel like it’s their house, too. We want them to know they are welcome to come over, redecorate, open the fridge and even mow the lawn or pull some weeds every once in a while.”
The Young Life House is frequented by more than 100 kids per week. Many of them come on Monday nights, when all the Young Life leaders (including the female young life leaders who do not live in the house) come together for Young Life meetings. On Tuesday nights, there is a Bible study for kids interested in knowing more about God. The program also features leader dinners as well as countless movie nights and game nights that spring up spontaneously. There’s no scheduling of appointments – kids just show up to see if there’s someone there to talk to or play pool, air hockey or ping pong with.
Another nightly event is the P90x workout. One of the leaders, Casey, started inviting some of his guys to work out with him thinking he could get to know some kids while getting buffed. The rest is history: a nightly event for the sophomore guys.
“Every kid that walks into The Young Life House feels accepted,” said Heritage High senior Joey Nardone, a Young Life participant. “My Young Life leader Brian and I have grown pretty close since I started going. He has taught me some things and provided me somebody I can trust. I look up to him like an older brother and somebody I can talk to. I’m so glad I started going to Young Life this past winter because it has made such an impact on my life.”
“Teenagers today need positive role models more than ever,” said Moody. “Their ability to make good decisions about life are enhanced when they have a positive role model who can listen and provide good counsel. This is exactly what Young Life leaders provide, and to have a majority of them all in one house is a blessing to our community.
“It’s my hope that someday there will be a Young Life house near every high school. The girl leaders are already talking about trying to find a rental near Freedom or Liberty so we can have a girl Young Life House.”
As teenage drug and alcohol use, pregnancy, drop-outs and crime are on the rise, a house of role models is essential. For more information about Young Life, visit www.delta.younglife.org or call Jen Moody at 925-640-9647.