One of the questions we are asked on a regular basis is how many young men does the Paul Anderson Youth Home serve. The answer is we work with 20 individuals at a time. Most respond by asking why we don’t serve more.
It is a fair question, particularly given our results. Our success rate far surpasses state programs (90% versus 35%) and our daily cost per young man is less than the state’s ($217 a day versus $241). Given the PAYH is more effective and efficient, as well as the enormity of the need, why don’t we help more?
Why Not More – there’s more to the story
Clearly the government’s approach of trying to change thousands at a time has proven to be ineffective. When facilities are working with hundreds at a time, they end up merely supervising instead of actively seeking to shape. Watching men is not shaping men! Higher numbers not always equal a greater impact.
If a mass approach was effective then, we would not see so many people returning to jail. While we want to make an impact on the 36,000 juveniles being arrested every week, we believe that change starts with one!
The human heart holds issues and pains that are not resolved by merely watching and waiting. They are expressed in relationships that have to be developed over time. It is very intensive. Meaningful relationships require a substantial investment of energy and commitment. In our work, often that commitment begins one-sided, but over time, something very healthy begins. And the return from the investment is breathtaking; miraculous. If you have not watched Jonathan’s story, I encourage you to take 5 minutes to see the story of a life that has been transformed.
His story is what we hope for in all our young men. We are looking for a chance to build relationship with them, one life at a time. A relationship founded on hope, love, honesty, and grace.
More than one!
Change is a commitment shared not only by us, but the young man, the family, and the community from which he came to us. Working with one life is really a partnership that is much larger than just one. One life touched has an impact on people and places far greater than we will ever truly comprehend!
Yet even if it was just one, what is that one life worth? A Vanderbilt studied placed the value of a changed life between $3.1 million and $5.2 million dollars. I don’t believe that adequately covers the true value.
Life is not just numbers. What if that one child was yours? What would be the worth of that life then? I think we would all answer the question by saying that it is priceless. Hope is eternal and grace exceeds our capacity to understand the real worth of a transformed life, family, and culture.
Change truly begins with each of us. If we do not like what we see in our children, families, and communities then we must take action. Change will not take place through mere observation. We cannot watch what is taking place and expect there to be any meaningful difference in our culture.
The statistics can be overwhelming and often leads us to apathy. Apathy is a learned helplessness; we teach ourselves to not care or to just give up. Yet apathy is not a permit for neglecting responsibility.
Whether it is in our communities, our families, our children, or in our own lives, we have made this mess we call our current culture. At some point, each one of us is going to have to deal with the reality that it is not simply the government’s fault. The culpability lies with us all for the world we see around us. Our response as an organization, made of families and individuals is to take action.
Our ministry exists to help others take action and so we are here to partner with you. Because it is far more than just one life, one family, and one community we are impacting when we take action. Together, our influence is not merely measured in numbers but in lives, families, and communities transformed. But it always starts with one!
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