“Don’t look away,” has been JEMfriends’ challenge to the treasure valley in 2017. Don’t look away when you see a homeless youth; take time to connect them with a resource. As you hear stories of aging-out youth, don’t look away; instead take action to make a difference for our youth.
With this challenge in mind, the community’s participation at our JEMfriends Banquet in September was incredibly encouraging. The banquet room sold out with over two hundred guests, many of whom attended for the first time . We were all encouraged by Derek Clark, the guest speaker at the banquet, who shared his heartfelt story of childhood abuse and neglect and of the love and support that turned his life around. In his own words, “[His] life of a mess has been turned into a message.” Thank you so much for your participation and encouragement and for meeting the challenge to not look away.
In much the same way that Derek Clark’s life was transformed, JEMfriends is transforming lives one day at a time—turning messes into messages, brokenness into restoration, anonymity into identity, and lies of unworthiness into understanding of true value—all in the name of Jesus. This huge goal at JEMfriends is often accomplished in tiny ways. One example is the story of a JEMyouth who recently shared her story with me. She was moved from foster home to foster home and never given the opportunity to unpack and settle into a home as she grew up. Even when she moved in with her grandparents, she never unpacked. But when she moved into JEMfriends, she was unpacked within a month. This was the first time that she had unpacked and moved in anywhere! What a blessing it is to our youth to give them a stable place to live where they feel valued and loved.
Because housing our youth is such an amazing blessing to them, it is incredibly exciting that within the last twelve months, JEMfriends has been able to triple the amount of housing that it provides them. This growth is largely supported by our monthly housing partners. These monthly partnerships directly pay for the rent and utilities of our three homes, which are currently 55% covered by our monthly partnerships. In order for us to continue to provide housing for our eleven youth in 2018, we need your continued support. Would you consider becoming a monthly partner (of any amount) to help us meet this need? Thank you so much for your support. We cannot do this ministry without those who take on the challenge: “Don’t look away.”
Liberty Barrett, Executive Director