News & Updates

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

Joy to the World the Lord has come.

Hi friend!

This Christmas season is feeling very special. On the ministry side of things, I was meeting with a staff member at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility and a youth walked by, stopped, and with a big smile said, “Jen!”. I haven’t seen this youth for almost a year. I jumped up and gave her a big hug, she was so happy and said I made her day. I reciprocated the same feeling and I get to see her at the Christmas party next week.

Financially, I am so grateful to share that through your kindness, we have successfully met the matching gift challenge issued by the Huddart Family Foundation back in May. Event-wise, we are once again hosting a Christmas party at the Jackie Winters Transition Program, which is part of Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility located in Albany. We are currently expecting up to a dozen young women in attendance and what is unique about these youth is that they have experienced program success to the point that they are learning how to transition back into their communities. Because of that, they are allowed unique privileges including receiving personal Christmas gifts. As in the past, facility administrators have given us wish lists for each young woman and we will be spending approximately $75 on each. As you consider your year-end giving to Mid-Valley YFC, consider increasing your gift by $75 in order to participate. In exchange, we would very much love to write your names (first name only) on the gift bag. We think this would be a special and surprising touch for these ladies.

Personally, I continue to be alternately delighted and overwhelmed about carrying the responsibility of being a foster parent. All throughout, however, is a deep sense of purpose and thankfulness. Decorating the Christmas tree feels different this year and an unexpected photo opportunity became a sweet family Christmas card. This young woman has changed our lives and although I am sometimes fearful about not being enough, the Lord continues to remind me that HE is all that I need.

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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