Over the last few weeks I have been writing about the various means by which the Lighthouse church community has been proclaiming the gospel to San Francisco (see here, here, and here). I emailed the youth pastor, Danny Reyes, asking for more information about their work amongst troubled juveniles. He responded by reminding me that the programs that he was going to discuss are not offered directly through the church as church programs but rather that people from the church have been incarnationally going into programs already established by the local government.

The program of note is the Detention Diversion Advocacy Program “targets the highest risk youth in the juvenile justice system and offers them intensive case management and a comprehensive range of community services.” They note:

Many programs target first time offenders but CJCJ recognizes that 70% of first time offenders never offend again, and therefore considers it more effective to concentrate funding and rehabilitation services on repeat offenders, who generally have more complicated needs and are consequently more difficult to serve. (More here)

Danny tells me, ” [Lighthouse] Members provide weekly mentoring/discipleship sessions at Juvenile Hall; prayer and pastoral counsel to youth awaiting trial or serving out lengthy juvenile hall commitments;  monthly worship services to various units within juvenile hall; and support to families of detained youth.”

Danny himself  works with youth and their transition from Out of Home Placement. These youth have completed a sentence at a group home or youth facility. It is his job to put together a collaborative and comprehensive plan for “reentry” into the community. He is supported completely by donations.

Kimo Uila, who directs Sunday School for the Lighthouse, also advocates for alternatives to detention; provides intensive case-management to the highest risk youth in the “system”; and connects youth with community based organizations that can provide services based on the youth’s specific needs and interests.

There are others.

Imagine that: a children ministry director and a youth ministry director embedded in the city’s juvenile centers trying to share Christ with those most detached from society. I wonder what fruit will fall from that tree in the years to come. Who knows, but I think this is where we’d find Jesus.

If you’d be interested in supporting Lighthouse you can donate here. If you’d like to know more about how you can partner with them comment or email me at brianleport@gmail.com.