In efforts to raise awareness for community outreach, Young Life of Hillsdale will host a fundraising banquet Saturday at the Dow Leadership Center.
Young Life Director Andy van der Harst, who has been on staff with Young Life for the past three years, said that the event also serves as a thank you for current supporters.
“But it is also more than just a fundraiser,” van der Harst said. “We invite people to become partners with us.”
Young Life of Hillsdale exists to cultivate friendships between children and young adults, ultimately sharing the Gospel.
“Young Life is fundamentally about Jesus Christ and the pursuit of God after people,” van der Harst said. “That is our motivation.”
While Young Life of Hillsdale has been around since the 1990s, programming is still in its beginning stages, van der Harst said. With an increase in fundraising, additional activities such as clubs and bible studies will begin.
Currently, Young Life student leaders attend lunches several times a week at Davis Middle School and play with the kids at recess. In addition, they have chaperoned dances and assisted with sports practices. These settings allow the student leaders to build relationships with the kids.
Freshman Shelby Dorman, one of the Young Life student leaders, got involved with Young Life after connecting with the program at The Source, a campus and community organization fair at Hillsdale College.
“I wanted to get involved with kids, and focus on the gospel message,” she said. “I started going to different events and realized that it wasn’t just about reaching kids, but also about personal and spiritual development.”
Dorman said she saw the opportunity as an additional way to keep herself accountable and that throughout the next few months she was able to grow to love sharing the simplicity of God’s love.
“There’s a lot of brokenness in the Hillsdale community,” Dorman said. “And a lot of lack of knowledge about who God is. Many of these children haven’t experienced real love from God.”
Freshman Grace Bennett, another Young Life student leader, said she found a lot of brokenness in the community as well, but that having relationships with children has been really powerful.
“We have a saying that the children don’t care what you say until they see that you care,” Bennett said. “Showing that love to them is really important for the older — younger relationships.”
Dorman said that Young Life is a great outlet for Hillsdale College students to get involved with kids in the local community.
“It can help college students, and anyone who has a passion for children in the present community and have a heart for God’s love,” Dorman said. “Looking beyond the college community can be really powerful.”
The opportunities for assisting with Young Life are endless, van der Harst said.
“For those reaching out to help, there’s a lot of flexibility,” he said. “We really could use people for finances, administration, relationships, and events.”
Those interested in supporting Young Life of Hillsdale can find more information at hillsdale.younglife.org.