2020: A Ministry to Young People in Trouble

“2020” is short for the Hamilton County Juvenile Court Youth Center, located at 2020 Auburn Avenue across from Christ Hospital. Young people are brought to this secure facility by police, after arrest, or by agencies of the Court. About 90 youth between the ages of 9 and 17 are incarcerated there for an average of 10 days as they await their Court appearance. Each year, more than 3,000 young people are held there.

Who are these youth? Those on the 2020 ministry team have found them to be like most kids, like our own kids, with one big exception. These young people have fallen through the usual safety nets of family, school, church and community, and landed on the wrong side of the Law and in 2020. This forced “time out” has a sobering and humbling effect on the vast majority of these kids. Those of us who have visited at 2020 have witnessed first-hand the special sensitivity and openness these young people have to receive God’s love. That’s why we keep coming back year-after-year. I’ve been blessed to visit 2020 monthly for 10 years.

Thirty years ago, George Keil, one of our members, answered God’s call to start this ministry at HPCUMC (thanks and blessings on you, George!). One evening each week, we send a rotating team to meet with a small group of youth for an hour. Through this ministry of presence, we convey that someone, including God and us, still cares for them. We meet in a safe place, smile, listen, share, pray, read Scripture, and give each young person a new Bible they can put their name in and keep (Bibles caringly given to 400-500 kids in trouble per year!). For New Year’s Eve, we treat the whole facility to a pizza party which kids and staff greatly appreciate.

We presently have vacancies on our team due to moves and health issues. So, we’re looking for several caring adults age 21 and older to join this vital caring ministry, either as a regular once/month visitor, or as an occasional fill-in.

If God has given you a love for young people and if you sense a “divine nudge” to invest an hour a month giving hope to kids with open minds and hearts who find themselves in trouble, we’re looking for you. If you sense God may be calling you to this ministry, or even if you’re not quite sure, we invite you to join us as a guest visitor. As a guest, you’ll be free to just observe, or join-in as you feel led and comfortable. Once you confirm God’s calling, we’ll get you on the team. Blessings on you, my friend!

Please contact Sarah Putman at 979-8162, sputman@hpcumc.org, or Dana Connolly at 827-0815, dana.connolly1@gmail.com for more information or to schedule a guest visit.

Posted in Community Highlight.