We are less than 1 week away from the 7th annual #TL5K!
If you would like to donate or help by becoming a fundraiser, visit our #TL5K site!
The #TL5K is this Saturday, April 2nd, and in the midst of planning and fundraising, I have also been doing some thinking…(dangerous, I know!)
Because we decided to move the Teen Lifeline 5K to the Spring, we did not actually have a #TL5K in the year 2015. That means that we have not held this run since October 2014, a whole year and a half ago, and a lot can change in a year and a half! It is easy to forget how far we have come in that short amount of time, but as we gear up for this year’s race, I want to take a step back and reflect on how far Teen Lifeline has come since 2014.
Here are a few things that have happened since the last #TL5K:
- We have held support groups in 9 different school districts throughout Tarrant and Wise Counties. And since last spring, we have been facilitating support groups in Fort Worth ISD!
- Teen Lifeline has held 2 volunteer facilitator trainings at the National Conference on Youth Ministries (NCYM), training 16 individuals.
- We hosted Leadercast for the first time in May 2015!
- Chris Robey wrote and developed a 10-session support group curriculum specifically for teen-aged parents. That curriculum is now being used with Birdville ISD teen parents and at our Keller Teen Parent Meetings.
- We are able to help with Teen Parent Meetings in Keller and North Richland Hills because of our new supply trailer. This trailer is fully mobile and holds essential supplies that are given to teen parents like diapers, clothes, bottles, wipes, and much more!
- Teen Lifeline held it’s first Dinner and Auction at Joe T. Garcia’s raising almost $30,000 in one night!
- We have now trained a total of 100 individuals to take our Life Lived Better Curriculum into their local school district.
- Teen Lifeline has started a new podcast called Stay Calm, Don’t Panic to help equip, encourage and empower those who live, work and interact with teens.
- In 2015, we worked with 837 teenagers through support groups – our biggest year yet! In the 2015-2016 School Year, we have already seen over 747 students. During Fall 2015, we reached 435 teenagers – more than Teen Lifeline’s first 3 semesters combined!
As you can see, Teen Lifeline is growing. More teenagers are being reached. More teen parents are getting the help that they need. More youth ministers, social workers and volunteers are helping their local school with our curriculum.
I say all of this not to toot our own horn – just the opposite! I am telling you about the last year and a half to thank you! None of the great goals mentioned above would have happened without the 2014 #TL5K, or End-of-Year giving, or the Dinner and Auction, or Renew Weekend. If you think that giving your time or finances doesn’t matter, I am begging you to take another look at Teen Lifeline!
We are able to meet with teen moms and provide them and their babies with cute clothes and quality diapers. On a weekly basis, we get to share hope and a new perspective with teenagers who feel stuck and alone. Teenagers get to discuss stress management, relationships, school life and more on their school campus during the school day.
There are countless stories I could tell you that would make you laugh, cry and might even make you want to hang out with teenagers! Hopefully you have gotten a glimpse into some of these stories over the past several months. Hopefully you see the value in your gift. We cannot thank you enough for the last year and a half!
If you haven’t already given, please consider helping us reach our #TL5K goal of $70,000! Every single donation (no matter how big or small) helps teenagers and gives us the opportunity to step into the life of a teenager to equip, encourage and empower them to live life better.
We are only 2 weeks away from the 7th annual #TL5K!
If you would like to donate or help by becoming a fundraiser, visit our #TL5K site!
One of our weekly groups is a year-round group at a local adolescent drug rehab. We have been working at this facility for over four years now, and I can honestly say it can be the most rewarding or frustrating experience of my week. These are young men who are battling addictions at a very young age and are (primarily) court ordered to go through 45-60 days of rehabilitation.
There are 16 boys on the unit at all times, so you can imagine how up and down these boys can get. A few weeks back, I had to completely shut down the group because the boys were not only being disrespectful of me, but also of each other. Nothing was getting done, and it seemed like they had all decided to quit on the group before we ever got started.
I don’t have to shut groups down very often. I try to exhaust all of my options before I make the call, but when I do, I typically do so with something specific in mind:
You see, when I have to come down hard on a group because of behavior or disrespect, I try to do so with a bigger plan in mind. While I hate to boot out a whole group of students from a week of support group that could be potentially helpful, I know the next week when we meet, things will be better.
Things will be better because when we meet again, I don’t hold anything against them. They failed to make the group happen last week. Maybe I failed as a leader. But, what is most important is how we move on. We can make it better together. I’m going to show up with the a positive attitude believing they can fix the problem.
And guess what? They always do. Anytime I’ve had to call out students on their behavior or attitude, they respond when I come back with the expectation that they will make it better and fix the problem.
We can do a great service to teenagers when we believe that they can get better. Adults have incredible power to influence students in a positive way by having hope that they can make positive and meaningful changes.
What can you communicate today to a student that will help them make meaningful change?
We are only 5 weeks away from the 7th annual #TL5K, and our Kick Off Event is tomorrow, March 1st!
Please join us for dinner to hear about the great plans we have for this year’s 5K! RSVP here today.
Teen Lifeline’s vision statement is to “encourage, equip and empower teenagers to live life better.” This is done through Support Groups that take place during school hours, but sometimes in order to fully equip, encourage and empower the students we work with, our facilitators decide to go above and beyond their expected duties.
We love it when our facilitators become invested in the lives of the students they serve, and no one does it better than Jason Herman. Jason is the Lead Student Minister at The Hills Church’s North Richland Hills Campus. He has lead groups with Teen Lifeline since 2013 and has a particular passion for working with teenaged dads. He is able to form meaningful relationships with these teen dads because of the conversations had and resources that are exchanged. We are so glad that he has chosen to “get out of the boat!”
When I was a kid, I loved bumper boats (you know, bumper cars on water). I got a kick out of smashing into other unsuspecting bumper boat enthusiasts. The thing about bumper boats, however, is that you rarely react with the people in the other boats. You simply float from one person to the next and are never truly in control of what happens on the water. Sometimes, I think we approach life the same way. We wake up, get ready, coast through the day bumping into others only to get home, go to sleep, and repeat. It’s a chain reaction of events that simply lead to the next day, and we completely miss opportunities to fully engage people. So the question becomes, how do we break routine?
Perhaps the obvious first move is to get out of the boat. This looks different for everyone but for me, and many of us who work in the church, it means getting out of the office and engaging the community. That is why I love Teen Lifeline. Over the past three years I have worked with teen dads and been able to develop relationships with school administrators, staff, teachers, counselors, and students. As those relationships have developed, opportunities to engage people became a reality. Which leads me to the next crucial piece in breaking routine.
We have to keep our eyes open for opportunities to take the relationship deeper. I have found that such opportunities present themselves when a need is stated during group, which leads to a chance to engage outside of group. For example, during one session, my dads discussed several resources that were unavailable to them. Their needs ranged from being able to provide a turkey for Thanksgiving, buying Christmas presents for their children, to needing an attorney for various legal problems. In this situation, needs became opportunity to break routine. Coordinating with The Hills Church, each dad was given access to resources they desperately needed. Coincidently, none of this took place in our typical group meeting. It all happened outside group. We have to look beyond the group if we really want to engage lives.
When we engage people, understand their needs, and do more than simply bump into them, the routine of everyday life is shattered. Trust is earned and life moves from individuals bumping into one another to an adventure that is lived together. I love working with teen dads, and there is nothing like when one of them invites you into their life. Sometimes this even looks like a baby shower, a birthday party, or a wedding ceremony. This is life lived better, and there’s no telling what adventure tomorrow may bring.