We designed our programs with this question in mind: What do fatherless young people need? Above all, they need to know the unconditional love of their Heavenly Father. But they also need a role model, an advocate, a teacher, a counselor; someone they can trust; someone who offers emotional support, and provides security, accountability, and structure. They need someone to model the love of Christ, speak into them a divine purpose and identity, and simply "walk life" with them. In fact, that's why we call this "life-on-life" ministry.
Our goal is to create a network of support for our youth: serving them and their families in the home, partnering with local churches in our outreach programs, providing practical ministry resources, and having a presence in the public schools. In short, we want to address specific needs in all of the major areas of a young person's life.
As you look through our list of programs, you'll notice these symbols:
They categorize and connect what we do to our mission, vision, and model of ministry. By God's grace, we hope to see transformed lives, transformed families, transformed communities—all for His glory. Learn how you can partner with us!
SLAM—Our SLAM mentors (whom we call coaches) commit to investing a minimum of 3 hours each week outside of the walls of the program, getting to know our youth, their families, their hobbies, and more. Coaches model the love of Christ to our youth by pursuing them regardless of their level of appreciation or responsiveness, and identifying needs that they can help address. These can be as simple taking teens to church, assisting them with schoolwork, helping them apply and interview for jobs, and taking them to get their driver’s license. But we’ve also had coaches go even deeper, allowing teens who have challenging home situations to move in with them, helping to pay for their college tuition, or advocating for them in court. Ultimately, we hope each coach we connect with a young person will develop a true life-on-life relationship. If this interests you, learn how you can volunteer.
GRIP The School—Because many of our youth spend the majority of their time at school, volunteers with GRIP The School program have opportunities to make connections with youth—in lunchrooms, hallways, and afterschool programs—that can also lead to life-on-life relationships not unlike the ones created through SLAM. The goal is the same. As Christian adults get involved in the lives of our youth and their families, the love and transforming power of Christ can enter into the home. Learn how you can get involved too.
GRIP The School—Many Christians believe that because of the separation of church and state, they are unable to take Christ into the public schools. Not true! The Chicago public schools, like many, have faced funding cuts that have opened the doors for volunteers to fill a variety of roles—serving as teachers’ aides, running afterschool programs, coaching athletic teams, augmenting security staff, and connecting with youth one-on-one in hallways, classrooms, and lunchrooms. The GRIP The School program provides practical services that schools need. At the same time, it saturates the school with praying adults who model the love of Christ to students who desperately need someone to love them and walk life alongside of them. Volunteers can also participate in staff prayer meetings every Wednesday morning at Wells High School (936 N. Ashland Ave. in Chicago) starting at 6:30 a.m. Anyone from the community is welcome to join us!
SLAM—SLAM can be used as an outreach for churches that may not have youth programs of their own, or that may simply want to take advantage of this dynamic, high-energy program to engage the teens in their congregations with the gospel. This year GRIP has partnered with six churches to bring youth to SLAM, as well as 24 churches to send volunteers. If you or members of your church are interested in getting involved, contact us to schedule a visit, and come see SLAM in action. You can also check out our volunteer opportunities.
GRIP The School— The GRIP The School program creates opportunities for churches to get involved with students in local public schools, using their time and talent to meet a variety of needs. Mobilizing Christians to serve the students, staff, and school administration provides a meaningful opportunity for churches to be salt and light in some of the darkest places in the city. If you or members of your church are interested in getting involved, check out our volunteer opportunities.
Miracle Basketball League—The Miracle Basketball League can be used by churches and community organizations as an outreach to youth in their neighborhoods. Churches invite youth and assemble their own teams to participate in our competitive, 6-week summer basketball league. Teens can play basketball with peers from rival neighborhoods in a safe and loving environment, and hear the gospel prior to their games each night. Learn more about league rules, registration, and volunteer opportunities.
Streetlights—Our youth cannot grow in their faith without the ability to read and internalize the Word of God. But because of the widespread problem of illiteracy among young people in the inner city, this has been a barrier for many youth ministers and churches. This is why we created Streetlights, the world’s first urban audio Bible and multimedia curriculum. Streetlights is word-for-word Scripture in the New Living Translation set to hip-hop beats. Download MP3 files of Genesis 1-6 and the Gospel of John for FREE! And stay tuned for music videos and written curriculum coming soon to the Streetlights website.
Urban Youth Network—The Urban Youth Network (UYN) is a monthly gathering of vocational urban ministers or anyone who feels called to urban ministry. It’s a chance to be encouraged by the Word of God, and experience fellowship with others from ministries and organizations throughout the city. Join our email list to receive updates on the dates and locations of future UYN meetings.
The Legacy Conference—Those who are serious about making disciples will not want to miss the annual Legacy Conference. Top Christian hip-hop artists and national ministers unite for this 3-day event filled with workshops, concerts, and teaching to equip disciples to make disciples. It is a resource for individuals who desire to grow in the area of discipleship as well as churches that want biblical encouragement and training for greater outreach and impact. Learn more about this year’s Legacy Conference in July.