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Out of the streets, into the church

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Youth are often negatively associated with gang violence, teen pregnancy and date rape, among other undesirable elements.

Although all teens don’t fit into these categories, many feel that attending church service or reading the Bible is considered worse than going to school.

Many youth have been misguided by the media as to what it’s like to attend church service or socialize with others in a church setting. Several churches in the city and nonprofit organizations have implemented programs and camps to enlist teens in a positive setting rather than a negative street scene.

“There have been a record number of homicides of our Black males, but I wanted to do something to help change that,” said Rev. Malachi Walker, associate pastor of Great Commission Church of God and founder and director of Young Men Inc. Youth mMinistry.

Experts say a portion of teens who are not a part of a youth ministry or mentoring program, are often lured into the streets and as a result, either end up in prison or pregnant.

During an extensive nine-week camp Young Men Inc. Youth Ministry teaches basic biblical principles while offering recreation, hands on activities and educational field trips. Motivational speakers also visit the camp every Tuesday.

Twelve-year-old A.J. Wooden, a member of Young Men, Inc. Youth Ministry said the camp has taught him how to become a good man before God and learn how to read his Bible.

Another resource for youth is Kreative Soulutionz, a new organization in Indianapolis that was started to help guide youth in their liberal arts talents such as theatre, dance, art and fashion.

“When I was growing up, those around me were less prone to getting into trouble because our time was consumed in after school activities,” said Tiquisha Hines, CEO and owner of Kreative Soulutionz. “We were more successful in school because we had the guidance that youth don’t have today.”

A decrease in government funding has limited many liberal arts programs and youth ministries in the city, but mentors and pastors are not giving up despite the lack of financial support.

“When we first started the camp, we had 25 young men,” said Walker. “For nine weeks, we ran the camp with only $750.”

Because of limited funding, Walker was unable to enlist as many participants as in previous years, so the organization now has a waiting list.

Individuals who want to take part in Young Men Inc. must go through an interview process and various screenings that pose a variety of questions. Youth of all ages are encouraged to join the program.

In addition, Kreative Soulutionz also welcomes youth of all ages to join their organization. There is no audition process required to join, but participants are expected to have a positive attitude to help enrich their talent in a Godly setting.

“Its all about exposure. I want to expose youth to other things besides football and basketball, because some youth don’t identify with sports,” said Hines. “With God anything is possible, and I want to help youth realize that.”

For more information about Young Men Inc. Youth Ministry, call Rev. Malachi Walker at (317) 437-793. For more information about Kreative Soulutionz or the 2009 Fly Higher Youth Expo, call Tiquisha Hines at (317) 657-5627 or by email at ksoulutionz@gmail.com.

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