GRIP Outreach For Youth is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to connect youth with caring, Christian mentors to build Life-on-Life relationships. GRIP provides programs and resources to develop young people spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Our Mission & Vision
At GRIP Outreach For youth, our mission is to invest in the lives of Chicago youth through Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships. We have a vision for thousands upon thousands of kids to grow into solid Christian adults who will positively impact and contribute to society, their communities, their churches, and their families.
More specifically we want to see:
- Thousands of transformed lives
- Transformed cities
- Strong local churches
- Solid schools
- Future leaders for Christ
- Centers of excellence for urban ministry
We’re striving to create a network of support for our youth, not simply by serving them and their families in the home, but also by partnering with local churches in our outreach programs, and by having a presence in the public schools, where our youth spend the majority of their time.
At GRIP, we believe that Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships is what God has invited us to build with youth in Chicago.
We take seriously the words of Jesus Christ (from Matthew 28:18-20) who commissioned His followers to make disciples of all people, immersing them in the character of God the Father,Son and Holy Spirit while teaching them His truth. Therefore, for the past 18 years, GRIP has remained committed to training and equipping thousands of adult mentors from local churchesto invest in Chicago youth with God’s love and Jesus Christ’s commission as our motivation. Just as Jesus “came not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28), we realize that mentorship requires dependency upon Him in order to keep us serving youth through the highs and lows of mentorship.
When we refer to Life-on-Life, we are talking about a relationship that is so much more than “mentorship.” Jesus walked life with His disciples, investing quality and quantity time with them, therefore we equip our adult mentors to spend time getting to know their mentee inside and outside of our programming. We challenge our mentors to care about a student as a whole person (emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually). We also encourage our mentors to partner with their student’s family in order to identify how best to serve them in order to develop their mentee holistically. As mentors open up their lives intentionally and consistently, life-on-life relationships can grow. Our prayer is that hundreds of Christ-centered, Life-on-Life relationships will form, empowering youth to know the love of God and grow in their purpose and identity, becoming young leaders in their homes, schools, churches and communities.
Equip, Connect, Grow, Develop
We recruit, train, and equip an army of caring adult volunteers to serve as mentors to youth in the city. And we provide resources and ongoing support for these mentors as they engage and build deep relationships with young people.
We connect our mentors to students through our SLAM and GRIP The School programs. SLAM is a weekly, high-energy sports and team-building outreach that combines creative games with Bible teaching and time for one-on-one and small group discussion. GRIP The School mobilizes volunteers to serve in schools-as tutors, coaches, teacher aides, and more.
Our staff members mentor the mentors, coaching them to intentionally pursue and grow relationships with youth outside of our programs by spending time with them in their homes, schools, churches, and communities-essentially “doing life” together.
As mentors get to know youth, they are able to identify their true needs, partner with their families, and help develop them holistically. This could be in academics, life skills, career goals, family life, or spiritual life. GRIP’s Future Steps program further helps prepare students for adulthood through college and career development, as well as internships and job opportunities.
Sharing the Life-Changing Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Gospel is the cornerstone of everything we do at GRIP. Our goal is to do ministry just as Jesus did, serving with love, compassion, humility, and an unrelenting commitment to spreading the Gospel of Truth. It is our hope that this commitment will help lead many of our youth into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Building Life-on-Life, God-Glorifying, Disciple-Making Relationships
Building biblical relationships based on honesty, trust, and love is vitally important to accomplishing our mission. We believe that the real impact of GRIP’s ministry takes place outside the walls of our programs, when our youth and adult volunteers are walking life together. We know it is essential for our youth to hear what the Scripture teaches about how God wants them to live, but we also believe they need to see firsthand what living a gospel-centered life looks like. This is why we are committed to equipping our staff and volunteers with the training they need to be godly examples to our youth. (1 Corinthians 4:15, Philippians 3:17)
Plugging Youth into the Word of God & into the Community of God
We believe that the Word of God is essential for the sustenance and growth of our faith and the faith of our youth. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
In addition, plugging young believers into local churches is another vital component of our ministry. We aspire to see our youth become vibrant, growing participants within the local church body, where solid teaching and the support of many God-honoring men and women will surround them. We believe that immersion and participation in the local church is an essential step in the transformational process of learning to serve God and others. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Preparing Youth for Their Future
We desire to provide our youth with practical life-skills they will need as adults. GRIP is committed to providing programs that will teach our youth how to work, communicate, and lead so they can be effective contributors to their communities, jobs, churches, and families. (Proverbs 12:14)
Meet Our Staff
Prior to joining GRIP, Anwar was Managing Director of Program Operations for By The Hand Club for Kids, a Christian ministry in Chicago. He has also served in leadership roles at the Salvation Army and Rawhide Boys Ranch. Anwar has also been serving as an Associate Pastor at Living Word Church in Lansing, Il for the past 12 years, 9 of which he was been the youth pastor. He has spent more than 20 years communicating God’s love and hope in urban, suburban and rural settings both in the U.S. and abroad. Anwar holds a Masters of Education in Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois, Chicago and a Bachelors of Arts in Christian Ministry from Taylor University. He loves watching football, and going fishing and camping with his kids. Anwar currently resides in Lansing, IL with his wife Michelle and their two biological children. Anwar and his wife have been actively involved in foster care and have housed many children over the past 11 years.
Sue currently lives in Logan Square with her husband, son, and daughter. She considers Chicago to be the greatest city on the planet and is a die-hard Chicago sports fan.
"My favorite part of living in Chicago is waiting to see which happens first: Jesus coming back, or Cubbies winning the World Series," Erick shares. The Cubs won!
Somewhere along the way, God placed Chicago on Sarah's heart. She began to pray for God to open the door to relocate, not knowing the 'why' or with any kind of definite time frame in mind. God opened the door in 2020 and so Sarah moved across the country with her two cats, Marge and Maeve, proceeding to teach preschool for the first 2 years of life here. She began volunteering as a mentor with GRIP in October 2021 and was excited to join the staff in July 2022. Sarah resides in the Edgewater neighborhood, where her favorite thing is being able to walk along the lakefront every evening after work.