Young Life is a mission devoted to introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. Heath Sizick, director of the group said the program in Randolph and surrounding counties has grown in width, and he plans to work on growing in depth this year.
"Young Life was founded in 1941, and strives to focus on what matter to kids," Sizick said. "We talk with them about the truth about God and his love for them."
Sizick said he sees this as troubling times for kids.
"My heart is breaking for them," he said. "A social network is great for communication, but has made it harder for teens. If a kid attends a party and has issues, that is put out instantly and all of their friends know what happened."
Sizick said Young Life volunteers were one of the first responders on the day following the stabbing in November at Tygarts Valley High School.
"Young Life leaders and supporters were there to help students," Sizick said. "Students learned that adults and leaders care for them. There were 25 to 30 people who attended."
Sizick said he hopes to start Young Life moving into new areas.
"We hope to get into Pendleton County soon," he said. "We just started at Tygarts Valley High School. Before that, students were traveling to Elkins for meetings."
At Elkins Middle School, about 61 kids are attending the WyldLife meetings, an offshoot of the Young Life program. At Tucker County High School, the group partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"We just hired a staff member in Upshur County and are very proud of that," Sizick said. "He said he was being called to do Christian work. We are lucky to have him."
In Upshur County, a Young Life Group dedicated to students with disabilities is being formed.
"Two West Virginia Wesleyan College students, and former Young Life participants are taking the lead with this group," he said.
Sizick said he is searching for a leader to help start a WyldLife group at Tygarts Valley Middle School.
Additional information about Young Life and WyldLife is available by calling 304-940-9090 or can be found online at younglife.org.