vol 1. issue 1
Kirk Humphreys Building a city through faith
Sargeant Waylon Cubit Changing lives of at-risk youth
Thriving YFC programs Impact souls for Christ throughout the Metro
yo ut h f o r c h r i s t w w w. y f c o k c. o r g
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Reaching youth through the
FACT Program W
aylon Cubit knew from his youth that he wanted to be a police officer, and in his sixteen years serving as one he has made an impact in Oklahoma, particularly in the Oklahoma City area. Now, Waylon is making an impact through the FACT program - Family Awareness and Community Teamwork. “The FACT program,” Waylon explained, “is a very unique police department unit that was formed as a proactive approach to youth gang involvement. It is an effort on the police department to identify youth in our community that has demonstrated poor decision making skills along with other risk factors that place them in jeopardy of gang involvement or other delinquency.” “Full-time police officers reach out to these youth and their families and offer mentorship along with a variety of community programs to help promote positive activity and positive character traits. The officers have been able to form great community relationships that has helped individual youth realize their positive potential.”
Through his previous police work, Waylon has seen plenty of poor decision making. While he saw plenty of it in other capacities, he credits his time working undercover as what helped him learn the most about crime. “...I believe I learned more about criminals, crime, and the frame of mind of criminals while working in an undercover capacity,” he said. “...Most of my undercover work was not long term investigations, therefore I was more focused on street level crime and street level narcotic distribution. I did things like posing as a crack head in order to purchase crack cocaine from street level dealers (usually gang members). I also acted like a street level dealer and dealt fake crack to unsuspected crack users.” The more Waylon saw through his work as a police officer and working with youth in other areas, the more passionate he became about helping those involved in gangs. “I have worked with youth in many different capacities in my life,” he said. “Over the years I became increasingly frustrated by the fact that gangs were able to lure inner city kids into a lifestyle that would not only mess up their individual lives but the communities they live in. I saw the development of this [FACT] program as a way to deal with my personal frustration and the growing problem of youth gang involvement.”
“The unit was started when the Chief of Police noticed that the community was continually looking for ways to help combat gang membership in the Oklahoma City,” Waylon said. “In 2007 Chief Bill Citty placed me on a special assignment to develop the program. The unit showed great early success and the unit has grown from just one full time officer to four full time officers and one supervisor.” The police officers involved in FACT immerse themselves in the lives of those they try to reach using four main focus areas. For some, working with gangs sounds too perilous, but not for Waylon. Even as a young child, before he knew anything about gangs, he loved watching cops and robbers shows and says he knew he was destined to be a cop, even though he didn’t fully understand what a police officer did. Later in life Waylon learned that this deep feeling was a divine calling. Many would probably agree that the good work the FACT program is doing and the rate that it is growing confirms this even further. What started as an idea and given one full time officer has grown considerably.
“First, we do interventions with kids and families that are referred to the unit,” Waylon explained. “During this intervention the officers inform the referred youth about the danger and natural consequences for the poor decision they are making, and then offer membership into the FACT program. “Secondly, we do weekly character building with those kids that have chosen to participate in the program. Then we conduct community education and gang awareness education to schools, and community groups. Lastly, we do one-on-one mentoring with many of the kids in the program and build personal relationships with many of these kids.”
J ’ s f o r A’ s
Youth for Christ | Northeast Oklahoma City
by M a r k u s Ja ck s o n Youth for Christ has started a program that motivates students with failing grades to make better grades and learn successful academic habits. This program, “J’s for A’s,” provides a pair of Jordan shoes (“J’s”), as an incentive to the student(s) with the highest grade point average or a 4.0. In addition to this, the program encourages students to improve their grades by offering other incentives such as gift cards and other prizes. The program has proven successful at increasing grades amongst students who were previously discouraged and unsuccessful at meeting educational standards. Initially, the program was funded by the leadership team at Amped Eastside Youth Church. Due to the wild success of this effort, funding this program became prohibitively expensive for the leadership team. What a great problem to have!
YFC has picked up the program and expanded it to Douglass High School (DHS), a school designated as a “needs improvement” school by the state for the last decade. With drop-out rates and failing statistics at an all-time high, Marcus Jackson brought the program to his Impact Leadership Club at DHS. After only one year, he has seen five 4.0’s (some from previously failing grades), and a 100% success rate of his graduating seniors attending college this semester. This is unheard of in this area! We look forward to expanding the program to more and more schools in the near future!
B u il di ng a city through faith
he future is bright for Oklahoma City. It is rapidly growing and evolving in ways we couldn’t have possibly imagined twenty years ago, and this is in no small part thanks to former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys. Ask Kirk what accomplishments he’s most proud of, and he’ll quickly cite the MAPS and MAPS for Kids projects, which is responsible for bringing about many of the positive changes in the Oklahoma City area in the past few years.
“I was fortunate to follow a very successful mayor, Ron Norick. He got the city’s momentum going in the right direction and we built on that success,” Kirk said. “The MAPS Projects (an acronym for Metropolitan Area Projects) were Ron’s initiative – he started them and we completed them successfully. When I became mayor, it quickly became clear that fixing our struggling urban schools was our most pressing need, so we worked for 3 years to put MAPS for Kids together and get it approved by the voters. “This is a big challenge and we’re not finished yet, but we’re still working on it!” MAPS, a five-year, one penny sales tax funded set of projects, were quite controversial at the time and many were concerned that the projects would be a failure. During Kirk’s mayoral race against Guy Liebmann, these became the pivotal issues, and
the future of the arena that is home today to, among other things, Oklahoma City’s beloved Thunder. “...it was evident that we would be $30 million short of having enough money to finish all of the projects. This led to the pivotal question in the mayor’s race: ‘Do we build the downtown sports arena or not?’” Kirk said. “My opponent in the run-off, Guy Liebmann, a good man who later became a valued friend during the years we served together on the city council, took the position that we should put the arena on hold and finish the other projects with the available funds. I disagreed, stating that
we had promised to build 9 projects and we needed to deliver what we had promised – even if it meant extending the sales tax. This was a historic question for our city – were we going to step up and keep moving forward, or back down and stop short of the goal? After I was elected, I was able to gain support of the city council and the tax extension was put before the voters in December 1998. They approved the 6-month extension of the MAPS sales tax by an overwhelmingly 68% margin.” As Kirk said, “the rest is history.” Without an arena at the crucial moment that the New Orleans Hornets needed a temporary home after Hurricane Katrina there would have been no way to prove that the community was capable of supporting a major league sports franchise. “What would Oklahoma City be today if I had taken a different position during the 1998 mayor’s race?” Kirk mused. “There would be no arena, no Oklahoma City Thunder, no Kevin Durant as an ambassador for our city, and without a doubt, no Devon Tower. Without the success of MAPS, we would not be the city we are today, with the best economic outlook of any city in America.”
The arena, ballpark, canal, river, and Civic Center are amazing accomplishments for the city, but behind those accomplishments stands a man of great faith who knows that without that faith, nothing could have been accomplished. “My faith in Christ is integral to all I am and do,” Kirk said. “I seek to live my life according to God’s word. In the early years of our marriage, Danna and I were fortunate to be mentored by experienced Christian leaders who helped us understand how to know Jesus Christ, walk with Him daily and build our lives on His principles. This provided a solid foundation for our family, my business career and my years in public service. Unfortunately, many people go into business and politics without an adequate foundation, and their lives crumble when subjected to the stresses of life. While I am far from perfect, and my family can attest to my many shortcomings, I have been able to live a life in the public eye while keeping my integrity and reputation intact.”
Of course, the arena isn’t the only project Kirk is proud of for his city. “I particularly like the ballpark (the first MAPS project), the canal (the biggest transformation), and the river (who would have imagined that the Olympic trials would be on our river?). But my favorite MAPS project is the Civic Center Music Hall,” he said. “I love that we preserved a historic building and made it into a first-rate concert and performance hall! I particularly love the 5-story atrium, which was the left-over space after they made the concert hall smaller to make it more like a European-style concert hall. Recently when Paul Simon was in town, the concert was delayed as his sound crew struggled with equipment problems. So Paul went out into the atrium and performed an impromptu “unplugged” concert for the crowd! That’s why I love the atrium – it seems to say, ‘This is a place to lift your spirits, to see your friends, to have a party!’”
It seems appropriate, then, that when Kirk invited Billy Graham to Oklahoma City for one of his final crusades, it was held at the same arena that Kirk’s faith helped build. “In 2003, I was pleased to be able to invite Dr. Billy Graham to come to Oklahoma City for one of his final crusades. This was his fourth major visit to our city, following crusades in 1956 and 1983 and his visit after the bombing in 1995,” Kirk remembered. “It was particularly meaningful for our family since my father, Jack, had spent 26 years during retirement as a parttime volunteer teacher of the counselor training classes for Dr. Graham’s crusades around the world. When my father passed away in December 2010, Billy Graham sent a personal letter which was read at the memorial service.” Faith can move mountains. It can also change a city.
One kid can change his “World!”
Leadership Club Youth for Christ | Oklahoma City
by Brian Hill
by Hillar y Nortz
At Western Oaks, Harrison is a sixth grader who grew up in church but really didn’t see the benefit. He had seen hurt and pain for his family rather than hope and healing. Since July of 2010, he has been part of a local student ministry and of the IMPACT Club (formerly POP) on the Western Oaks Middle School campus. During that time, he has begun to buy into the truth that he was created by God to reach his “world” (Matt 5:13-16)! As a result, he has been responsible for over 30 students connecting with loving adult leaders and now several have accepted Christ! All because one kid believes He can reach the friends that make up his “world.”
We are so proud to announce that we have thriving programs in over 30 local middle and high schools across the OKC metro area! Despite the sweeping success of our programs, we have decided to take our clubs to the next level. The Impact Leadership Club is a project that was piloted at John Marshall High School last year. It is a program that takes students to the next level with the motto “Impacting myself, my school, and my city.”
Please keep Harrison and his friends in prayer as they continue to reach their goal of sharing the love of Jesus with ALL the students of Western Oaks Middle School!
Impact Leadership Club is a group of students focused on making a positive impact on themselves, their schools, and OKC through positive values, culture, a relationship with God, and higher education. Students are being elected as officers and taking charge of making a change at their own schools. We will also bring the Leadership students across the city together to make a major impact on our city for Jesus Christ!!
Youth for Christ | Putnam City
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I m pac t i n g t h e k i n g d o m t h r o u g h p i z z a by M a tt H a n k i n s o n Executive Director of Yo u t h F o r C h r i s t , O K C Last month alone, we saw over 125 students accept Jesus Christ at one school through our lunch Bible study! Since many urban families do not have adequate transportation to get to a church youth program, we go to them. We have found that lunch is the best time to gather urban students to do Bible study, but it comes with a big price…PIZZA. Since these Impact programs meet during the students’ brief lunchtime, we have to provide lunch to the students that meet with us. With over 2,000 students meeting in lunch clubs across the city every week, it gets pretty pricey. We’re asking friends of Youth for Christ to donate $24 a month to our pizza fund. Why $24? First of all, almost anyone can afford $24/month. Secondly, $24/month sponsors 6 students per week in our
clubs. We are praying for 500 sponsors this year. Finally, it’s a small price for a huge Kingdom impact! Through these clubs, students are getting out of gangs, getting a vision for college, learning how to be leaders of their schools, building relationships, and receiving the good news of Jesus Christ. To help sponsor a club and for more information about YFC’s more than 30 Impact Lunch Programs across the city, go to www.YFCOKC.org.
Suburban Campus Life b y To d d L o v e l a c e
In Suburban Campus Life, a ministry of Youth for Christ, we have been working on a plan to make disciples. I can’t say it’s been easy. Living a life as a follower of Jesus in middle school and high school these days is tough. It takes strong character and courageous leadership. Our team is constantly looking for students whose heart is open to living for a greater cause. What we have discovered is that when students choose to live this life of “influence,” God works in big ways. I believe there is no greater person to reach this generation than through this generation. In other words we, as mentors, parents, and other adult leaders, need to be consistently leading middle school and high school students to become influencers in their world. They have the relationships. They have the opportunity. They just need to be equipped and empowered and they need people that believe in them!
In Campus Life, we are about forming a core of students who will live life on mission. Every student can participate: extrovert, introvert, great parents, no parents, public school, private school, athletic, artistic. We have all been marked by the love of our heavenly father and it’s our mission in life to share that love with the world, daily! For more information on Suburban Campus Life or to start a ministry on a campus, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marked by Love Helping Students Live a Life of Influence MARKED BY LOVE Helping Students Live a Life of Influence TODD LOVELACE
foreword by Bo Boshers
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Integrating Godâ€™s mission for the world into our daily lives. We gather every Sunday morning at 10:00 in the Sandridge Auditorium, located at 123 Robert S Kerr.