with the fatherless


“Today for the first time in America’s history, the average expected experience of childhood now includes living in the absence of one’s natural father.” This includes a staggering 72% of African American and 53% of Latino children being born out of wedlock. Moreover, the number of Caucasian children born out of wedlock has grown by 300% since 1975.

The eruption of violence in our cities is directly related to this breakdown of the family structure. In fact, over the past four years, 597 young people, aged 21 years and under, were murdered here in Chicago–and many of these victims and perpetrators come from fatherless homes.

Every day we at GRIP see firsthand many of the damaging consequences of fatherlessness. You see them too–on the nightly news, in the headlines, in statistics, perhaps even in your own community.

When a father’s presence is not in the home to lead his family and to speak a purpose and identity into his children, far too many youth fill this void by turning to the streets–to gangs, drugs, and other destructive behaviors. The reality is fatherlessness is a growing epidemic, and its symptoms are evident throughout society as well as in many of our own lives.

Fatherless children are:

• 2x as likely to drop out of high school
• 2x as likely to end up in jail
• 2x as likely to abuse alcohol or illegal drugs
• 4x as likely to have emotional or behavioral problems


At GRIP, we realize the only thing that can fill the voice in the life of a fatherless child is the love of God the Father. AS a result, our mission is to break the fatherless cycle through Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships.

Over the past 12 years, GRIP has been striving to obey God’s commandment to “defend the cause of the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17) by training and equipping thousands of adult mentors to model the love of Christ to youth who so desperately need it.

When we refer to Life-on-Life, we are talking about a relationship that is so much more than “mentorship.” It’s modeling what it means to be a man or woman of God–not just during a program or in a classroom–but while in our homes, running errands, playing ball, serving others in community, or studying the Bible. And as we walk life together, we’re extending to our youth an invitation to know the love of God, to know their purpose and identity, and to grow as young leaders in their homes, schools, churches and communities.

You can be a part of the solution when you give, volunteer, and pray for GRIP.


Our Life-on-Life approach starts by recruiting, training, and EQUIPPING an army of caring adult volunteer mentors. Next, we CONNECTthese mentors to youth through our engaging outreach programs.

Our staff then continue to coach our mentors to intentionally pursue and GROW these relationships outside the walls of our programs by spending time with youth–in their homes, schools, churches, and communities. We teach our mentors “throughout your week, as you’re doing life, simply bring your student along with you.” Over time, through persistent and consistent time spent together, Life-on-Life relationships start to form.

Our mentors are then able to identify the true needs of our youth, and then DEVELOP them holistically–caring for them in the areas of life-skills, academics, career development, family life, and character and spiritual development. Throughout this entire process, GRIP provides Life-on-Life resources and a network of support as we walk alongside both our youth and their mentors–providing them opportunities for development. This is our Life-on-Life model.

All of GRIP’s initiatives–whether programs or resources–have been strategically created as a tool for building-up and encouraging Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships.



Life-on-Life Hours spent together
between youth and volunteer mentors


Youth served


Adults trained
for urban outreach


Church & organizational