Wayside’s Urban Youth Ministry (UYM) is a Christian ministry dedicated since 1989, to empowering “at-risk” inner city youth between the ages of 6 and 17, to reach their full God-given potential through free programs that focus on discipleship. Partnering with neighborhood churches, schools, community organizations and groups, UYM provides activities that offer alternatives to the negative influences that youth can be confronted with when not having anything positive to do.
How Does UYM Share Christian Values?
UYM provides the CHAMPS program, a Christian Kids Club for children in Brady Elementary School, to acclimate them to their environment by teaching Christian values. UYM also uses its Summer Camp to stress Christian moral values while providing children with a safe venue where they can have fun. Urban Youth Ministry’s Community Outreach, Christmas Outreach, and Easter Outreach efforts focuses on sharing the reason behind why we give and the reason behind the seasons. UYM’s Aurora Neighborhood Baseball League teams begin each game with devotion and prayer, focusing on Jesus Christ, the source of their abilities.
UYM programs include:
- After-school tutoring and homework assistance
- Summer and winter day camps that include community activity participation, field trips, and a healthy meal daily
- Boys and Girls Summer Baseball League (ages 6-12)
- Music and art programs
Decades ago, Joel was a young man growing up in Aurora when gang violence was at an all-time high. To offer an alternative, Wayside Cross Ministries formed an outreach called Urban Youth Ministry. One of the efforts included a free baseball league on the east side of Aurora. Joel played on one of the first teams.
Today, Joel is raising his own family and, thanks to much community effort and collaboration, his neighborhood is a much better place to live. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ whole neighborhoods, families, and lives were transformed.
Joel’s son, like his father, is also playing in our Aurora Neighborhood Baseball League as one of the second generation players. As he takes the field he is even using his father’s baseball glove. We believe that youth ministry is not just about the impact today, but how generations are being shaped for the future.
Who would have known that Joel would become a stronger Dad one day because of how others poured into his life many years ago? Every little seed planted in young lives is not only about today, but also about a harvest that is yet to come.
UYM Summer Camp
The body of Christ at St. Olaf Lutheran church in Montgomery is a wonderful example of the commission God has given us all: to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
For the third year in a row, St. Olaf’s was the home of UYM’s summer camp. Every weekday for the months of June and July, children from the Brady Elementary neighborhood and the St. Olaf neighborhood were seen playing in the churchyard, learning about the Bible in Sunday School classrooms, eating, reading and making crafts in the cafeteria, and cooking in the kitchen. Urban Youth Ministry and the Aurora community is blessed because of the grace that is given by St. Olaf Church and their example of God’s love.