Wade Kirk is a youth pastor and volunteer for Bridge Builders at the Multi-County Juvenile Detention Center in Lancaster.

"I started my journey with Central Ohio Youth for Christ in March of 2018. My involvement with Chaplain Steve and COYFC has been an absolute blessing. The experiences I’ve had have been challenging and transformational to my ministry and Christian worldview.

"Interacting with the young men in the detention center has completely shattered the stereotypes that I previously held. My prayer before I began to meet with them was that the Holy Spirit would allow me to see them from His perspective and not my own. God has been so gracious in granting that request. When I sit at a table across from these teens I don’t see delinquents. I see broken kids who need to see, hear, feel, and experience the love of The Father. The Holy Spirit reveals identity and purpose as I spend time listening to their stories. It’s through the bonds of trust and mutual respect that I then get to pour God’s truth and revelation into their lives.  Sometimes those truths land, take root, and begin a slow transformation in the teen’s life. At other times, significant seeds of hope are beginning to be planted as Jesus is no longer a stranger to them.

"The Bridge Builders emphasis and direction then allows me to connect with the youth participants upon their release where I can still be a part of their daily life through local church ministry, continually engaging them in their faith journey. I’m grateful that COYFC has given me the opportunity to walk along side of these “teens in tough places” and to be a part of their discovery of Jesus as Savior and Lord!"

     Don Sleeper has been a volunteer chaplain at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center since 2016. 
How did you first learn about YFC?
After retiring in 2016, my wife and I moved from Wisconsin to Westerville and began attending Grace Polaris Church. My pastor, Dustin Speaks, told me about an opportunity to minister at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC).  He knew Mike Taylor, the chaplain at JDC, and gave me his contact information. It was during my first conversation with Mike that I learned that this ministry was being performed under the auspices of Central Ohio Youth for Christ.
Why do you choose to volunteer for JJM?
By God's grace I became a Christian in 1987 when I was 37 years old. After moving here I served with Dustin Speaks in a different outreach, and after we finished he put me in touch with JJM and YFC. And the rest is history, or should I say “His story”. There is no other way to explain how I began to volunteer with JJM.
I continue to volunteer because:
(a) My first day I met another volunteer and he just happened to be a member at Grace Polaris and had been involved with JJM for several years. For around two years now we meet on Tuesday and travel together to JDC. We have become good friends and co-laborers.
(b) We are called to “go and make disciples,” and this is a very underserved population. It is a privilege to be able present the gospel to these young people.
(c) To be incarcerated in the JDC the young people must have committed a felony. Their family situations and life circumstances are usually stacked woefully against them. The devastation caused by the access to and distribution of drugs is immense. Who else can change their lives but Jesus?
What do you like about volunteering?
(1) Having a primary focus of presenting the gospel and seeing the Holy Spirit work in a person's life to bring them to faith.
(2) Spending time one-on-one with the teens and introducing them to the Bible.
(3) Forming at least some type of relationship with those who are incarcerated for multiple months.
(4) Becoming acquainted with many of the staff at JDC and coming to the realization that God has placed many of His people in that role.
(5) Laboring in the fields with the other dedicated volunteers from YFC.
How has this experience impacted you?
It has humbled me and made me acutely aware of God's overwhelming grace in so many aspects of my life. It has been the most rewarding ministry I have ever participated in. I pray the Lord will allow me the privilege of continuing in this ministry.