We see the hope and potential in every young person

Redefining “At Risk”

Who are ‘at risk’ youth? The following ideas are not meant to take away from the struggles that homeless and houseless youth face on a daily basis. However, as someone who works with youth in multiple cultures, I want to propose the idea that it might be time to reconsider what an ‘at risk youth’ may look like. It is time to realize that all of us who are in youth ministry are working with ‘at risk’ youth at any given time. They are at risk of being bullied; at risk of enduring a mental health crisis (including a suicide attempt); at risk of having their family break up; at risk of teen pregnancy; at risk of walking away from or outright rejecting Jesus. An ‘at risk’ youth is not JUST the tattooed, pierced, sullen, hoodie-wearing youth seen hanging out on the corner in the urban jungle. An ‘at risk’ youth is also the church-going, exam-acing, smiling, straight laced, clean cut kid. The kind you don’t expect to get into ‘trouble’. The one who seems to be able to hold it all together… until they can’t. Then something snaps and teachers, mentors, parents and youth pastors wonder, “What happened??”

All of the youth that we, at YFC, work with are ‘at risk’. Those who we meet on the street, at youth centres, in schools, churches or on the foreign mission field are at risk of all sorts of attacks on their emotions, egos and spirits. All of us work with at risk youth. All of us.


John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

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