Young Life celebrates 70 years, Fort Worth chapter sets future goals

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    After celebrating Young Life’s 70th birthday last week with an annual banquet and fundraising event, members of Fort Worth’s chapter said they hope to serve more than 1,200 children by 2018.

    Young Life is a mentoring program and club for middle school, high school and college age students. It is designed to be a support system for students and introduce them to a life of faith. 

    Maddie Anzovino, a second-year Young Life leader from TCU, said the event was held to show “what we are, what we are about, what we do and what our goals are.”

    “It is a night where we can paint a picture of what Young Life is in this community and what we are doing in schools,” Anzovino said. “It also shows our financial need and our goals.”

    At the fundraising event, which was held at River Ranch in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Young Life showcased itself to attendees through two guest speakers and a comedy skit. 

    Bob Goff, author of the book “Love Does” and former Young Life member, gave the keynote address for the evening. The theme of Goff’s talk was “we are not our failures, we are not our successes; we are our love.” 

    As someone who benefited from Young Life in high school, Goff expressed how Young Life kept him from “jumping the tracks.” 

    “He does an awesome job of painting a picture of our hope and spreading the word of Jesus Christ in this city,” Anzovino said.

    Young Life’s mission is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. 

    “Young Life is seeing who people are turning into,” Goff said. “It is telling kids, ‘You’re not the biggest mess up, you’re my friend.'”

    Young Life is a nationwide ministry run regionally through middle schools, high schools and colleges. In Fort Worth, there are 570 high school students attending weekly clubs and there are 85 volunteer leaders, many of which are TCU students. 

    TCU’s Young Life group meets once a week on Wednesday evenings. Anzovino said the group wants to have more than 200 leaders by 2018. 

    “I think the best thing to know about Young Life is we love people, and we love Christ… that is why we love people,” said Melodie Ozorkiewicz, a TCU graduate and YoungLives coordinator in Fort Worth. “We like to have fun doing that.”

    The Fort Worth group has seen increased membership because of its involvement on TCU’s campus. 

    “Our leadership body has grown quite a bit since I came in and this just has more to do with having a growing presence on TCU’s campus,” Ozorkiewicz said. “Not a huge presence, but having leaders who take an initiative to invite their friends along to become leaders… and in the ministry you have more leaders who go into schools and more kids who come to things.”

    Anzovino said Young Life is always looking for ways to reach out to more schools. Anyone can join the group. 

    “Everyone is welcome, whether that is for TCU Young Life stuff or if you want to love high school kids,” Ozorkiewicz said.