Young Life MS Gulf Coast has a presence in Ocean Springs but is beginning to move into the Pascagoula area, working to grow leaders and volunteers and cultivate friendships with students at Pascagoula High School and Resurrection Catholic School. “The spread of Young Life is always a grassroots, locally-owned movement. We like to say that ‘we go where invited,’” said Michael Dees, area developer, Young Life South Mississippi. “So, the story of Young Life spreading to Pascagoula is simply a story of folks in the community coming together to say, ‘we think this is worth doing in our community.’”
Dees said that Young Life is a relational ministry, so they don’t lead with programs. Right now they don’t have events scheduled at specific locations but are beginning to find local volunteers and meet interested students. The group will partner with the Ocean Springs group on certain things but it will be its own, independent Young Life group. Eventually, students in Pascagoula can expect to see Young Life leaders, both volunteer and staff, showing up “in their world,” according to Dees. Once the group gets more established, they will offer weekly programs such as Young Life Club as well as small groups and summer camp trips, just like the group in Ocean Springs.
Young Life is a faith-based, Christian organization that wants to connect adolescents with God through adult mentor-friendships to transform their hearts and influence their behaviors. They are an international organization with over 1500 locations in the United States alone. “Regardless of where you land on faith, there’s a ton of research that states the importance and value of a positive, healthy adult individual coming alongside an adolescent in life,” Dees said. “It improves one’s sense of their inherent value and promotes positive mental health.”
For more information, visit the Young Life MS Gulf Coast website or find them on Facebook.