Now, here starts the beginning of a beautiful journey. The idea of Elijah’s Journey Youth Cafe began in 2007 while volunteering as a teacher in our local church’s youth group. I spent a lot of time with the younger kids back then, seeing as my own boys were both under 8 years old and another on the way. There was something about the joy and innocence in their young faces that brought delight in my heart every Sunday morning. The excitement in their eyes when they heard how David was still a boy when he defeated Goliath with sling shot or how Jonah was swallowed by a giant fish and survived to finish his purpose; it was the reason I wanted to volunteer in the church… to install hope and spread truth.
Over time I realized that as these same kids grew older, they had giants to face in their own lives. These giants came in the form of bullying at school, neglect, or an absent parent. Their struggles often turned to sadness, anger and doubt. Many adults are familiar these emotions as we grow older but fail to recognize them in the children around us because after all, ‘how could a child possibly face stress the same way an adult would’. I saw young children grow into teenagers with incredible talents like artists, musicians, comedians and poets. Talents that should not be hidden away or used only as an escape from their giants. Unfortunately, in some of these kids lives the only tools they have to escape are their talents and many times they are not given the opportunity to display them because they don’t have the financial means to support it. Paint supplies, musical instruments, coaching… these are only a few costs associated with developing a talent. Eventually those talents become hobbies that are lost and forgotten. Doors close for these kids that should have been a gateway to a better future.
This is why we have created Elijah’s Journey Youth Cafe. To give these teens a space where they can hang out without being made to feel like they are loitering or ‘disturbing’ the adult customers. They should have a space where their talents can be displayed on their own stage in front on their own friends. A place where they can have fun, feel accepted no matter who they are, and be offered the coaching, tutoring and supplies they need to enhance their talents and education free of charge.
Our own future may be in the hands of these kids one day – we at EJYC want to know that we’ve done everything in our power as responsible adults to train them up in the way that they should go. With your support, we can help redirect the path of a teenager headed the wrong way or keep another focused on what they know they have the ability to do.
Train up a child in the way that he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.