News & Updates

Youth for Christ horizontal logo Mid Valley Chapter
Youth for Christ horizontal logo Mid Valley Chapter


Hello Friend!

Even after almost 30 years of visiting incarcerated youth, Jake’s story was shocking to me.  He was… 

  • Smoking weed and drinking alcohol by the age of 6 (provided by his father) 
  • Sexually assaulted by multiple adult men (associates of his father) 
  • Abandoned by his mother (who was lost in her own addictions) 
  • Removed to live with his aunt/uncle (only to be sexually assaulted by an older cousin) 

One day when he was 9, Jake was called to the principal’s office.  He was shocked to see his mother, who said she was taking him to live with her in Missouri.  Confused and anxious, Jake got his things, said goodbye to his friends, and they left immediately. 

By 11, Jake was regularly using drugs, got involved with gangs, and lived a dangerous life that he’s surprised he survived.  At 13, he was involved in a car accident (as the driver) that shattered the bodies of two of his friends, took the life of an unborn child, and left Jake in a wheelchair for a long period of time.  As a result of guilt and depression stemming from the accident, Jake attempted suicide on multiple occasions.  His older brother intervened and for a short period of time, Jake found sobriety 

At age 14, dad re-entered his life after (and this was news to Jake) being released from prison.  Dad moved Jake back to Arkansas and soon, Jake resumed his bad behavior.  He was arrested and given the choice – spend the next 3-5 years incarcerated or find a healthier living environment out of state. 

The judge approved for Jake to live with his dad’s mom in Oregon and he moved here in 2021.  Unfortunately, grandma’s own unhealthy lifestyle issues collided with his own and she kicked him out. After spending multiple nights under the bleachers at one of our local campuses, school and DHS officials intervened. His current life patterns continued and he eventually ended up at juvenile detention. 

Jake has been in and out of danger, foster care, treatment facilities, and finally the juvenile detention center where we met.  At 16, he is finally ready to change and start the process of reunification with his mom who has been clean and sober for the last six months!  Meanwhile, Jake knows that he has his own work, and his next stop is a rehabilitation facility 

Jake knows he shouldn’t be alive today but believes God has a purpose for his life.  Jake asked if he could add me to his call list when he goes to rehab.  “Absolutely”, I said. We prayed, I gave him a bible, and I’m asking you to join me in praying for his perseverance, his mother’s efforts toward their reunification, and this family’s healing. If all goes well, Jake could be home by Thanksgiving. 

For His glory.

P.S.  Our new fiscal year begins July 01, 2022, would you consider donating $20 a month for a year to help us with continued ministry but also provide funds so we can start ministry at new locations?  Click the GIVE button below to set up your account online at a safe and secure location.  THANKS!


Celebrate with us 50 years of ministry in the Mid-Willamette Valley and hear about how you can help move us into the next 50 years.

  • Experience and see the ministry on the inside.
  • Sign up for a 50 & Forward event.
  • Multiple dates and time available, click the button below for details.

Here at Mid-Valley Youth for Christ, we are committed to our mission of “Bringing HOPE to the hopeless.”  But HOPE is more than just a feeling we want to impart to the youth we serve, it’s a description of our organizational values, and a roadmap for our future.

As you may recall, HOPE is an acronym representing our four chapter values:

  • H – Helpful service
  • O – humble Obedience
  • P – Purposeful relationships
  • E – Effective service

Last month I shared that Jen and I conducted interviews with facility managers to make sure that as we plan for the future, we don’t inadvertently organize ourselves around our dreams more so than their needs.  We want our ministry efforts to be truly helpful and during these conversations, we were more than assured about the relevance of what we have to offer!

This month I want to share a little about obedience because although it’s listed second in our values, it’s actually central to our desires.  The spiritual disciples exercises we practiced this last spring were invigorating, centering, and reminded us that obedience begins with humility – of orienting our actions around Christ’s desires.  Our actions towards others need to demonstrate relational humility (Phil 2:1-4) and our work efforts need to reflect an understanding that we have been designed to fulfill God’s plans (Eph 2:10).  And in Luke 6:43-45, we are advised that the proof of our humility will be revealed because “Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.”

Obedience to Christ is not about blind followership, but it does require making the choice to yield and set ourselves and our ambitions to the side.  Don’t get me wrong, we are ambitious regarding the future of Mid-Valley Youth for Christ!  But it’s easy to confuse personal and ministry ambitions and so we want to be both prayerful and bold as we take these next steps.

Would you consider taking a closer look at what we’re doing and where we’re headed?  We’d love for you to be a central part to our accountability and support.  Our 50 & Forward events are a great opportunity for you to “come and see.”   We have multiple dates and times listed on our website – check out the details at under the tab GET INVOLVED.

Strategic Development Director

Jennifer Berg

Jennifer Berg

Executive Director


Bringing Hope to the Hopeless

Mid-Valley Youth for Christ
Juvenile Justice Ministry

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“Thank you for coming today…
I can’t remember the last time I smiled or laughed.” (15-year-old male)

During one of my recent trips to detention, I was disappointed to learn that only three youth requested to attend my group when I knew there were a total of 12 in the facility. The staff escorting us to the classroom was also surprised and asked a colleague, “Did you tell them it was Jen, and that she has licorice?!” Armed with this new information, the second staff member went back to the youth and soon, more than half of the 12 were settling into their seats, ready for the treat that earned me the nickname “The Licorice Lady” over a decade ago.

You might remember that when I do group at detention, I’m frequently meeting with a revolving door of youth because this is a temporary holding facility. So, while I can’t easily do Bible studies or engage in on-going mentoring relationships like I can with youth in long-term facilities, the good news is that in this more introductory context, I can use good materials on frequent repeat. And one of my favorite selections is to grab anything that Christian comedian Tim Hawkins produces because of how humor (in combination with licorice!) breaks down walls. On this night, the video’s main point set up a great conversation with questions from the youth such as, “Will God still love me despite some things I’ve done?” What I love about this (frequently asked) question is just how surprised the youth become when I say that God loves them no matter who they are, or what they have done (Romans 8: 38-39).

That night after the video, I was able to meet one-on-one with a 15-year-old young man who thanked me for coming because he hadn’t felt joy for longer than he could remember. Being able to bring a smile to the heart of a young person who has forgotten what it is like to feel happiness is both a burden and an amazing privilege. Thank you for participating with me in delivering the Good News to incarcerated youth in our community.

I’m grateful for your commitment to this ministry, and I wish you and your family a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday.

Bringing HOPE to the hopeless.

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