You Are

Posted on by Cara Walker SD

By Josh Collier

I was the dorky homeschooled kid. Not having gone to school since kindergarten, I started my high school years on the outside. Even though it was a small Christian school, many of the students in my freshman class knew each other from other schools and those who didn’t had way more experience making friends than I did. I basically had one other friend who was in similar shoes and we stuck together like glue that whole year!

Each freshman at my school was assigned an upperclassman mentor to help them navigate their transition to high school. My mentor was Dave Roddy, and to be honest, I barely remember our relationship outside of one conversation during lunch. But Dave was a senior, and a leader, and I looked up to him a lot.

At the end of my freshman year of high school, Dave wrote me a note that changed my life forever: “Josh, you are one of the future leaders of this school.”

I was 15 years old and had never in my life thought about myself as a leader. But Dave Roddy interrupted who I thought I was with an alternate story for my life.

And Dave was right. I became a leader at my school, in my church youth group, a volunteer youth pastor, a Campus Life leader at Youth for Christ, a manager, a Development Director, and now an Executive Director.

I’m not trying to impress you with my resume, I’m trying to impress on you the idea that when someone speaks truth and identity into the life of a young person, things change. Dave Roddy spoke God’s heart for me into my life and I began to think about myself differently.

YOU ARE can change everything for a young person.

But, thousands of youth in San Diego are asking who am I? - and coming up blank. Of the 400,000 youth in our county ages 11-19, half aren’t part of a church, one in three are growing up without a father, and over 300 will attempt suicide this week. These are stunning statistics about the lives of individual youth in our city! Many are hearing terrible YOU ARE statements… you are only as good as your grades, you are what you do, you are from a broken family, you are a failure, you are a dropout, you are a mistake.

We believe that these stories can be interrupted with an alternate message. YOU ARE from a caring and invested adult changes everything. You are loved. You are valuable, gifted, purposed.

This is the heart of Youth for Christ, that every young person in our community would discover who they are in Jesus Christ: deeply loved by a God who has a significant purpose and plan for their lives.

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