Youth Of The City (YOTC) is a mission that is going to be launched out of our location at the Zeal Movement in downtown Manchester, specifically to reach teens ages 13-18. Our mission is simple: Bring love and mentoring to kids in our neighborhood, through mentoring relationships.
Unfortunately, many of our inner-city teens are products of a systematic poverty problem. We want to take those kids that are the headed to be the “statistic” and develop them through real relationships and get them to be the “anomaly.” It will take hard work, dedication and getting in the trenches. Money won’t solve this problem. We must be present and intentional.
Our approach isn’t just “games” or “activities” relevant to teens. That is a part of it, but not the change agent. We are going to be directly mentoring and building relationships organically with them. We will be presenting an encouraging message each week to inspire them and build confidence, self-worth, dignity, and hopefully a mindset that causes them to believe they can accomplish their dreams.
On site, our space will be totally redone each week to allow for our program which will include a weekly meal, ping-pong tables/ foosball table/ basketball hoops on our half court patio/ even a chess table. Best of all, we will be bringing something unique that no one has ever done which is a full band and a concert like light show to go along with the music. It won’t be uncommon to see the occasional DJ drop in and set up a killer dance party. We will be leveraging media, music and technology, which no one has done like we will. Our space is fitted out with pro-event lighting, a killer sound system and we will be working with very talented musicians that will be playing each week. We believe our approach will be relevant which allow an environment to build relationships and earn trust. Yes, earn.
I hope we can spread the word because we need as much help as possible. If we truly want to change things, it will take us to get in the trenches. This is how we will do it.
EVENT: The Zeal Movement is hosting a YOTC info night on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m., 351 Chestnut St., 1st Floor, for anyone who has a passion for teens and/or Manchester. In addition to Pastor Clinton, speakers will include Jess Sugrue from the YWCA, and Stephanie Bergeron from Serenity Place.
Please come out and be part of the solution.
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Jesse Clinton is pastor at Zeal Movement church in Manchester.