At YFC Serving Kansas City, one volunteer went above and beyond to reach youth in the justice system after a challenge from his local church. Bob, a retired police officer of 40 years, went to YFC Serving Kansas City Executive Director Alex Mathew and asked what a former police officer could do for the organization. Bob had a heart to serve and under YFC’s training, Bob began to connect with youth who are incarcerated in his own community of Kansas City.
Mathew remarked on Bob’s willingness to serve: “What’s really powerful about this is to see how God can use someone that was a former police officer to reach kids in the system. Kids care about how big your heart is, and Bob’s posture was in the right place. Bob was concerned about what the youth would think about his career, so when kids asked him what he did, he said he was in social services, just because he wanted to not make that a barrier. Eventually, some youth figured out he was a former police officer, and they actually respected him even more.”
Through his training with YFC, Bob found the prayer card of one student and felt the Lord call him to minister to him. Bob began a mentoring relationship with the student and after he was transferred to a state facility, Bob would drive over an hour each way to stay connected. At the student’s high school graduation in the state facility, Bob was there with family to celebrate. The student’s family does not speak much English, but at the graduation celebration, words were not needed to feel the love Bob had for his friend.
Mathew commented, “They can’t communicate words to each other, but you can see God all in that. Some people believe that there are too many barriers to love. I just feel like we have to turn off the news and start loving our neighbors and stop thinking about the excuses because Bob didn’t— Bob never had an excuse and look at the impact he’s had on this community.”
Bob is now the Juvenile Justice Ministry Site Director at the Johnson County Facility and continues to recruit more volunteers from his community and local church.