Thank you Owen Steed for creating a Bright Spot in Niagara County! The Bright Spot Report
The Director of Youth With A Purpose was present with the hope of speaking about a successful program for 18-30 yr. old young men in Buffalo. Due to the large number of speakers, many folks weren't able to speak. Those who did were very passionate. Each speaker was given a three minute time limit. We feel that it's important to share what God is doing in Buffalo as part of His answer in teaching young men how to build solutions to poverty and violence. What follows are my three minutes and the words that I would have spoken. Maybe they were meant for such a time as this.
My name is Bob Kuebler and I'm the Director of Youth With A Purpose. For several years I've had the privilege of being a speaker in the Niagara City Schools. Just three weeks ago I was in the Niagara Falls High School Health Classes. When I'm asked to come in and speak to the students, they ask me to speak about violence, drugs & alcohol abuse and bullying. What I actually teach the students is how to embrace the hard times of today as tomorrow's diamonds.
As the Director of the Holy Cross Youth Center, I've witnessed the heartbreak of young boys killed in the streets over drugs and gangs. I've had my hand on the chest of 14 yr. old boy as he took his final heartbeat caused by the bullet that passed through his brain. I have over fifteen years experience in helping families deal with the tragedies that accompany violence, drugs, and abuse - physical, verbal and emotional.
As an old-head, my time is growing shorter, we need to help young men mentor the younger generation NOW. We have a plan to do that and it's called BWAP or Basketball With A Purpose. The name can be a bit misleading. We could just as easily call it Music With A Purpose or Cooking With A Purpose. Find something that young people, boys or girls of any age like to do and use the BWAP format to from life-changing relationships with them. Learning labs can be constructed through a multi-faceted approach that incorporates athletics and academics.
Basketball is simply a relationship building tool. Each week at a BWAP site, young men 18-30 yrs. old play basketball from 7-8:15 pm. At approximately 8:15pm, we call halftime and the young men move into another room to listen to a Life Devotion/Direction Speaker. The guest speaker gives a 9-minute talk that's usually a life story of perseverance and overcoming hardship - we all have them. The speech is called a 9MD - 9 Minute Devotion or Direction.
Possible speakers include: Business owners, Police, former addicts, millionaires, former alcoholics, Pastors, former gangsters, Teachers, Judges, Lawyers, women who've overcome abuse, College and Military Recruiters, Professional Athletes and young people who've been a part of the BWAP Character Program. In the event that a speaker does not use a Bible verse as part of his 9 minutes, the BWAP Team will always give God credit through the Gospel after the Speaker is done.
Last year in a Buffalo School, some of our young men became YWAP Coaches and mentored in an after school program. In 45 minutes, we combined literacy teaching, social/emotional learning and physical education. Who says education can't be fun?
The last thing I would like to share with you is the YWAP LIFETICKET. We help young men build their own personal LIFETICKET. We ask them a few simple questions as a means of building a relationship with them and discovering their needs. We ask if they need prayer for anything. (If I had been able to speak at the Forum, I would've asked the crowd if anybody needed prayer and urged them not to go home until they had somebody pray with them. We need to serve each other in a more immediate way.) We ask about education, employment, housing, community service or if they need help for any other reason. http://www.youthwithapurpose.org/ywap-life-ticket.html
We've had discussions with the Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission about partnering with them and starting a BWAP Program. Please keep us in prayer as we look to expand God's territory through BWAP in other cities including Niagara Falls, NY, Huntington, WV, West Seneca, NY and Buffalo, NY. Please contact us to learn more.
Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.
Jesus loves you and so do we.
Bob Kuebler is the Founder & Director of Youth With A Purpose. Bob has spent the last 15 yrs. learning about pain and perseverance from inner city young people and their families. Healing starts with love and encompasses compassion and empathy. Our mission at YWAP is to inspire inner city young people to develop as God's leaders who overcome the mindset of poverty and gang violence. Bob is the Author of five books, several magazine articles and blogs including The Bright Spot Report. He regularly shares with audiences about how God is redeeming our cities through young people.
Bob can be reached at 716-830-8240, firstname.lastname@example.org. www.youthwithapurpose.org