I felt what was needed was a platform to cultivate the opportunity to communicate frequently and interact with these youth. To me, sports are a great, non-threatening way to form a trusting relationship with these kids, which is something they so desperately need. However, it quickly became obvious that these local at-risk youth needed so much more than just a ball game – self-esteem, hope, positive role models.
This led me to the concept of Higher Ground:
A stable place that is always there, especially when a child is facing a critical choice that will have lifelong implications;
Where kids know they will be welcome, safe and guided toward positive options
Where honest, caring and successful role models support the youth through all of life’s challenges
Higher Ground’s main focus is to bring together the youth and mentors. Higher Ground will do this by providing a multi-use field, a clubhouse, and modular for activities and tutoring, which will be staffed by volunteers who have a heart for this ministry. I’m so excited to see what the future has in store for Higher Ground, its mentors, and the youth we serve.
After 31 years in the video production/corporate communications industry, I was called to a life of ministry. One of the biggest surprises was the location of that ministry: Juvenile Hall in Orange County is where I spent three years listening and learning about the lives and challenges of the local youth.
From detention facilities to jails and prisons, I had countless conversations with young people where it became clear to me that their fate was sealed well before they became incarcerated.
This realization led me to begin ministry work outside the penal institutions in an effort to proactively prevent detrimental choices before they were made. These kids desperately needed support outside of Juvenile Hall. This led me to work in the gang-infested neighborhoods, where I walked the streets of Santa Ana and Anaheim with Lives Worth Saving. This group engages gang members in conversation; however, this simple encounter made it difficult to establish any kind of trust relationship.