Did you know we have a refugee youth center in Jordan? Well, we do. And it's a place that is near and dear to our hearts.
Statistically, teenagers are some of the most “left behind” individuals when it comes to international aid and development work. This has never sat well with us.
As we began looking for ways to help these youth falling through the cracks, well, enter a youth center. We call it The Hope Center.
For the last five years, teenagers who had their education disrupted by war have been able to come into a safe environment to continue learning. They have been able to spend time on “frivolous” hobbies - like learning to play an instrument. They have been taught life skills that can help them get jobs and earn a living (which is VERY hard to do as a refugee). They have had their bellies filled with countless nourishing meals. They have received trauma counseling. They have been loved and given a safe place to learn, socialize, grow, and heal.
For the first four years, The Hope Center shared a small location with another local group. However, as we grew, we found ourselves really needing our own space. Last year, we were finally able to open up in our own location!
Now that we aren't sharing space, the center is open 5 days a week! We've also started classes for the parents of our students. Being able to help the whole family is a gift we don't take lightly.
This youth center is something we hold close to our hearts. So many refugees feel forgotten by the world. Being a teenager intensifies that feeling for so many. Many refugee children are put in schools. Many adults are met with vocation programs. But the youth are far too often left on their own. Not here.
Five years in, and The Hope Center now has its own home. Each week over 250 students walk through our doors and are part of our program. These teenagers have a place that belongs to them. And we are just getting started with this work.
Does this youth center solve the bigger issue of so many teens being overlooked? No. Not yet. But it’s a really good step in the right direction. It’s a place of hope. Where we all get to participate in seeing dreams come to life again.
Until next time...