with the fatherless


Childhood Trauma, Poverty, Racism & Fatherlessness

641 youth ages 21 and under have been killed in Chicago in the last 5 years. This is a staggering statistic that hits close to home as the majority of our GRIP youth come from neighborhoods where 90% of the homicides in Chicago have occurred. Imagine the fear and trauma that comes from not only hearing gunshots in your neighborhood but also losing people close to you on a regular basis.

Did you know that 200,000 youth under the age of 18 in Chicago live in poverty? Imagine not knowing where your next meal will come from.

Did you know that people who have experienced trauma are 15 times more likely to attempt to suicide?

Did you know that 90% of teens in gangs come from fatherless homes? And, 71% of teen moms come from fatherless homes.

Violence, severe childhood trauma, poverty, systemic racism, and fatherlessness—this is the reality that many of our students face.

When a young person is hurting deeply, they often turn to the streets to find purpose and value—to gangs, drugs, and other destructive behaviors.

Every day we at GRIP see firsthand many of the damaging consequences of the many challenges our youth face. You see them too—on the nightly news, in the headlines, in the statistics, and perhaps in your own community—or in your own life.


At GRIP Outreach For Youth, we realize the only thing that can fill the void in a young person’s life is the love of God the Father. As a result, GRIP’s mission is to invest in the lives of Chicago youth through Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships.

Over the past 15 years, GRIP has been striving to obey God’s commandment to “seek justice, encourage the oppressed and 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, enjoying a family cookout, or studying the Bible together. 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 academics, life skills, 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 metrics are down 30% this year due to the global pandemic.


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


Youth served


Adults trained
for urban outreach


Life-on-Life relationships between youth & adult mentors