At our City Life KIX site, 16 year-old Cham’s nickname is “the Mayor of Homestead” because everywhere he goes people know him and want to say hi. He is tender with the children he serves at KIX Club, making jokes, playing basketball, and living as an example of a godly young man from their neighborhood. He is thoughtful, always contributing to discussions with a strong desire to know God more and honor Him with his life, even when others laugh at him. He has a special way of making others feel welcome and at ease.
It wasn’t always like this, though. Cham remembers a time when his anger controlled his life, to the point that they even considered expelling him from school because of all the fights he was in. I recently asked Cham to explain to me how everything changed.
Cham started attending KIX in January of his 7th grade year after he met one of our staff people in the neighborhood. “Attending KIX was the perfect excuse to get out of my house,” said Cham.
That spring he was invited to camp. “Camp oasis was something different…I knew everything about God but I didn’t have a personal relationship. I didn’t even know I could have one. But that all changed at camp and I became a Christian!”
“Camp was the turning point of me having a real father and son relationship with Jesus,” Cham explained.
Cham met adults who invest in him, too. This was really important to him because he doesn’t have his dad around to give him advice. Adults like Omar, “taught me other people are like my brothers and sisters. I haven’t fought since 7th grade,” says Cham.
This summer, Cham is able to give back by serving on a team called Project Serve at YFCamp. Cham said, “We’re not there for [fun], we’re there to support so the staff can build the connection with the campers and not have to worry about the activities or the dishes.”
When I asked Cham’s leader about him, she said, “In a world so saturated with needing the approval of others, teenagers are drowning in insecurities and confusion about who God created them to be, but not Cham…He seems so driven by love, compassion and kindness. He never reacts harshly…and we know that at any given moment, a smile from Cham is just around the corner.” What a difference God has made in this young man’s life!
We need partners to invest in our summer camp so that more lives can be transformed like Cham! I hope you will consider supporting one of our many summer activities: day camp, KIX on the Block, YFCamp, or Project Serve. All of them exist to that kids can know that God wants to give life to their stories all year long!
-Stacy Morales, City Life KIX Director