Alcansando a Cada Joven

When Orbi Gonzales and Steve Fernandez were little kids, they were inseparable. They were the same age, lived in the same neighborhood and loved sports. They also each lost their dad when they were only 3 years old and were raised by dedicated single moms in big families. Orbi and Steve were also best friends.

As they moved into their teenage years, a Young Life leader made a profound impression on them. His name was Pete McKean, and over time and after paying his dues, Pete got them to camp, played an integral role in Orbi and Steve meeting Christ, inspired them to dream about college and helped them choose a school. Their friendship continues to this day.
Changed lives 
Orbi is a vice president of Multicultural and Urban for Young Life. He has two children and lives in Phoenix with his wife, Kathy. Steve served as a member of the Young Life Board of Trustees and continues being heavily involved in regional and area Young Life activities. He also lives in Phoenix with his wife, Esther, and they have three daughters.

Both say that because of their involvement in Young Life, their lives won’t ever be the same. As they look at what happened to some of their high school friends from the barrio, they know their lives are radically different. Many of their buddies are dead or in prison. Very few have the kind of lives and make the type of difference in their community that Orbi and Steve do. They are poster guys for what we want to accomplish in Alcansando a Cada Joven — Reaching Every Kid.
Many more to reach 
There are many more Orbis and Steves out there. And, hopefully, there will be thousands of them who will have a similar story to tell. One of the reasons for that is we in Young Life want to reach out to kids like Orbi and Steve in ways we never have before. Although Young Life has been reaching out to all kinds of kids in all kinds of places, we want to focus even more on Latino kids in the years ahead. Our theme is “every kid, everywhere, for eternity.” And, as part of that mission, we know there are an unbelievable number of Latino kids who are ready to hear the Good News of Jesus. The statistics are overwhelming.
    • There are more than 35 million Latinos in the United States today.
    • One in every five teenagers is Latino.
    • From 1993–2002, the Latino teen population grew 30 percent, compared to an 8 percent growth in the number of non-Latino teens.
    • In the United States, there are 1,543 high schools and 1,429 middle schools with a 40  percent-plus Latino population. The 1,543 high schools alone account for more than 1.5 million Latino kids.
    • The sad news is that in those 2,972 high schools and junior highs, Young Life is doing ministry in only 219 schools. The good news is that in those 219 schools, there is an opportunity to meet Jesus.
We need you
To reach the Latinos and Latinas, we are making the Latino Initiative a major focus. A Latino Task Force has been meeting. The best practices in reaching these kids are being studied, and strategies are being implemented. We are recruiting, training and deploying, and we will be even more aggressive in the future. But to succeed, it will take a great deal of prayer, people and money.

I challenge you to think about being partners in this specialized ministry. Would you covenant to pray for every kid, everywhere and especially for Latino young men and women? Would you look for opportunities in your community to reach out to Latino students? Would you work with your local Young Life staff and volunteers to reach more of these kids? Would you think about giving generously to this initiative? If you’d like to participate financially in a national investment fund for this outreach, contact me and tell me how you’d like to be involved.
We want to share Christ with the Orbis and Steves and Mirandas and Marias of this world. And we need your help. Alcansando a cada joven!