When I met D he was 17 going on 18. We made a connection while he was incarcerated at the Juvenile Justice Campus (Juvenile Hall). He came from foster care and his foster family told him once he turned 18 he had to leave to make room for a new youth, one that was not such a handful. Yikes.
For 6 months I would go in and hold a Bible study in his pod. At first he attended just to have something to do instead of just sitting in his cell. But then the Holy Spirit moved inside of him. He started wanting to know more about who Jesus is and what it meant to have a relationship with someone that gave unconditional love.
When he was released he went into California’s AB12 program. D was through with school because as he said “I hate people telling me what to do.” He called me 4 days after his release and asked if I could help him get a job. I love it when kids keep seeking us out after getting released.
I told him of course but it meant having to listen to people telling him what to do! He agreed and was determined to change things in his life that were stumbling blocks. I also started discipling D in his walk with the Lord. We filled out about a dozen applications everywhere from McDonald’s to Red Carpet car wash. During this time our relationship grew and so did his relationship with the Lord.
I had a relationship with the owner of a landscaping company that was willing to give him a shot. He started working there but had no transportation so I told him just like God would never abandon him neither would I. I would pick him up for work everyday at 7 and he would take the bus home to his AB12 home. After about 3 weeks a coworker informed him that he lived near him and he could give him a ride to and from work all he had to do was chip in for gas. After 6 months he had saved up $1,800 dollars so we went to a tow yard and he was able to buy a lien sale vehicle. It was definitely not the prettiest car but it was in good running condition.
It was the first thing D ever owned that was just his. Little by little D began to understand that God did have a plan for him. I continued to mentor him and by the 9 month mark of our relationship he gave his life to Jesus!
Our mentoring and disciplining with kids is not a sprint, it is a marathon. D is now 20 going on 21. He took the skills and life lessons he learned from his 1st job and applied them to his next as a forklift operator at a warehouse here in Fresno. D and I still talk or hang out at least once a week. Because, of course we would!
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