Youth For Christ (YFC) is an indigenous, non-profit, non-denominational, non-racial Christian youth agency. Active in all nine provinces of South Africa. Affiliated with similar organisations in over 100 nations world wide. Committed to the holistic development and empowerment of young people of all communities and cultural backgrounds.
Background and Development
In the aftermath of World War II, many men returning from war in different places around the world were touched with a common concern for young people.
The first Youth for Christ rally in South Africa was held in 1946 in Cape Town. In America Billy Graham became the first full-time worker for YFC.
People of vision and a concern for our youth have built YFC into an organisation that now operates in 14 centres around South Africa and 127 countries world wide. Over the years, numerous models of intervention and youth development have been pioneered and implemented by YFC:
Today, Youth for Christ South Africa has over 140 full-time staff and more than 50 full-time volunteers, most of who are unpaid and raise their own support. In addition, there are over 500 part-time volunteers, all of whom are unpaid. In Knysna alone their are 13 staff members and more than 20 volunteers
Near the end of the year 2000, Youth for Christ's HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme has been selected for publication by the National Population Unit of the Department of Social Development as one of the 10 "Best Practices" in South Africa. An independent research consultant was appointed by the National Population Unit, and was given the task of writing up their programme for national publication.
During 2002/3 YFC have successfully expanded their peer education programme called ACTIVE Youth. ACTIVE stands for AIDS Conscious Teens Initiating Values Education. This programme had been piloted throughout the Eastern Cape and has now been established in 6 other centres throughout the nation. Despite this programme's rapid expansion, demand for the programme continues to far exceed their ability to meet.
From 2002 YfC Knysna was involved in a pilot programme in collaboration with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). In mid 2004 YfC Knysna has been appointed officially as partner and Service Provider by the WCED and Department of Health (DOH) for peer education in schools in the garden Route. This pioneering intervention strategy GOLD (Generation of Leaders Discovered) addresses the behaviours and beliefs that are at the root of the HIV AIDS pandemic amongst young people, while at the same time preparing for the leadership crisis that is being precipitated by the disease.
Today, with the Isisombululo Programme who facilitated a "top-up" of funds, GOLD provides capacity building and operates in more than 149 secondary schools across the Western Cape. In the Garden Route, YfC operates in 18 of the 19 secondary schools.
2002/3 also saw continued success in YFC's Siyithemba high school programme. This programme has also received the MEC's Award for Education in the Gauteng Province during 2001.
And finally, early in 1998, Youth for Christ received the Pan Commonwealth Youth Service Award for its work among Streetkids. This award is designed to recognise and reward the contribution made by young people to the development of their societies.
Challenges for the Future
As YFC continue to integrate their HIV/AIDS efforts throughout South Africa, their challenge is to remain balanced in approach. HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support are being integrated into each of their models of intervention. The organisation must, however, ensure that they focus their energies in the areas of access and expertise where they are able to have the greatest impact. There is much need around us, and one of our most important guiding principles is to seek maximum impact with the resources at their disposal.
- YFC will strive to ensure that every young person in every community in which it is active will have an opportunity to be followers of Jesus Christ.
- YFC will contextualise its activities to respond to the needs of the communities it strives to serve
- YFC will impact every young person who needs the service it renders
- YFC will strive to ensure a strong team mentality throughout all its structures that allows for development, empowerment, care and interdependence
- YFC will endeavor to mobilize resources in order to fulfill its mission and in so doing recognise the need to work alongside the Christian community and like-minded partners.
The Mission of the organisation is:
"To participate in the mental, physical, social and spiritual development of young people".
By spiritual development we recognise the vital importance of young people becoming committed and informed followers of Jesus Christ.
Aims and Objectives
- To promote the gospel of Jesus Christ and enable young people to reach their God-given potential;
- To facilitate personal development and offer training in lifeskills;
- To initiate and support Leadership development amongst the youth and communities;
- To be involved in community and schools upliftment projects which impact on youth development;
- To run HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support programs;
- To facilitate or support Economic development initiatives amongst the youth and communities;
- To document our models, processes and lessons learnt as resources for us and others who may benefit.
t e a m
YFC believe in the importance of creating a team culture at every level of the organisation.
we see interdependence, synergy and the sharing of resources and skills as vital in fulfilling our mission
e x c e l l e n c e
YFC desire to develop standards of excellence in every aspect of conduct and business.
we aim to set the highest standards that will result in us being seen as a role model and best practice
p e o p l e
YFC are committed to loving people and to treating all with respect and dignity.
this applies to both those with whom we work and partner, as well as the young people we seek to serve.
i n t e g r i t y
YFC are committed to a lifestyle of integrity through personal and organizational accountability.
this relates to lifestyle, relationships, finance and mission
c h r i s t i a n
YFC are committed to being christian in every aspect of our beliefs, behaviour and mission.
Approach and Philosophy - The Balanced Life Concept
YFC mainly targets young people with particular emphasis on needs of the total person. Through professional and volunteer staff who seeks to develop caring relationships, YFC strives towards creating physical fitness, social competence, mental stability and spiritual maturity in young lives. The "balanced life" concept not only develops qualities of leadership, morality and citizenship but also enables young people to effectively communicate in word and action their faith in Jesus Christ to their friends, family and their world. (Luke 2:52).
In order to fulfill their mission, YfC uses the most effective and responsible means to serve the youth. These interventions/projects are in the following areas: school development & life skills projects; shelters for children and youth at risk; youth clubs, leadership training, job creation, music, drama, street teams, adventure outreach and camps, bible study & discipleship, counseling services/centres and community development.
The local YFC Office have co-operated with Provincial Welfare, Health & Education Structures in many joint projects at local level. Other partners include the Knysna AIDS Council, Child Welfare, FAMSA, Epilepsy South Africa, CMR and various alcohol and drug rehabilitation centres
From its outset, YFC has been a volunteer organisation. The ethos of the organisation is to maintain a core of full-time staff who in turn facilitate the work of volunteers.
Volunteers are recruited from the communities in which they will be working. Often groups of volunteers are recruited from several communities and cultures providing a representative mix of culture, background and gender. Screening procedures are followed using criteria determined by the unique demands of each individual model of intervention used by YFC.
The by-line of YFC Knysna is: "Their future, our passion".