YES Program Director
FOCUS North America’s YES Students Partner with Phoenix Dream Center, wrap thousands of Christmas gifts for needy children and serve the poor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 2, 2009 – Kansas City, MO
The YES (Youth Equipped to Serve) Program of FOCUS North America has had a joyful and fruitful November. November 13-15, 2009, was spent in Phoenix, AZ. A team of 35 served the homeless and working poor of Phoenix with devotion and synergy. The group partnered with the Phoenix Dream Center, a wonderful ministry currently serving 700 residents who have committed to a Christian based life-recovery program.
After orientation on Friday, the group went downtown to share a meal with the homeless in the area. They broke up into groups and were given just $3 a person to eat dinner and an extra $3 to invite someone to join them. All the groups were blessed by the people they met. It was the perfect beginning to a weekend of communion with our most needy neighbors in Phoenix.
On Saturday, the youth participated in the ministries of the Dream Center- the Adopt-a-Block ministry and Church on the Street.
Adopt-a-Block focuses its efforts of the impoverished areas of the city by reaching out to the poor in their homes and providing food, clothing and other necessities. Our group visited the homes of the people and made sure that each family received a Thanksgiving turkey. They also had a wonderful afternoon of fun and fellowship with the children of the block by engaging them in sports and other activities.
After returning from their blocks, the group helped the Dream Center to wrap and sort thousands of Christmas gifts to be distributed to children in Phoenix. They truly enjoyed the task put before them while laughing and singing Christmas carols from start to finish. In every sense of the word, they were hardworking elves in what you would imagine Santa’s workshop would look like.
The group then spent the evening on a Church on the Street outreach with the Dream Center. They set up a barbecue in a neighborhood park. The homeless in the area were invited for a hearty meal, clothing and fellowship with our team. Many of the team members gave testimonies and sang for the crowd.
“By the time we reached Saturday evening, it was evident that the group had grown in their comfort levels and confidence in reaching out to the homeless. I looked around at the youth and saw relaxed, comfortable people full of joy- not one without a smile. One of students shared with me later that it just felt normal to talk with and eat with the homeless that came to the park that night. And I thought to myself, now that’s what this is all about.” –Katrina Bitar, YES Program Director.
To host or participate in a YES trip in 2010, please visit our website: www.yesnorthamerica.org. We are working on our schedule for Spring and Fall of 2010, so we would love to hear from you today if you are interested in bringing YES to your community!
FOCUS North America and its programs are committed to serve those in need, support Orthodox Christian social action ministries and supply parishes and others with the education, resources and training to initiate social action ministries in their own communities. In all of this, it continues in the work of Restoring Living Icons.