“You were born to win, but to be a winner,
you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.”
SwitchUp is an urban youth development program of CrossPurpose, a faith-based, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) serving Northeast Denver.
SwitchUp exists to mold youth in Northeast Denver to become transformational leaders of their generation.
Our vision is to see community of young transformational leaders, who are impacting their family, friends and community.
WANT TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER?
According to the most recent census data, approximately 40,400 children in Denver are living in poverty. Numerous studies indicate that children living below the federal poverty line are more likely to experience low academic achievement, abuse and neglect, behavioral and physical health problems, and developmental delays. To help mitigate these and other negative outcomes for youth at-risk, SwitchUp will target children and youth between the ages of 8-18, with a focus on northeast Denver, where the city’s highest concentration of impoverished children and youth reside.
While examining the needs of northeast Denver, specifically our community’s youth, we discovered that many assets exist in the form of urban evangelical youth outreach and youth engagement programs. What is lacking, however, are programs that provide a platform for youth leadership development. We desire to prepare youth in our community to lead well in their youth and beyond, as they transition into young adults.
In order to explore their inherent strengths and develop their leadership potential, urban youth have need of healthy support systems, as well as hope and affirmation for their future.
SwitchUp endeavors to meet the spiritual, social, relational, and leadership development challenges facing the youth in our communities, and have identified the following as responsive solutions to those challenges:
Positive male role models
Healthy support systems
Connections to academic opportunity
Cultural identity and values
Youth leadership development training
Youth Club is a 2-hour gathering for elementary, middle and high school age youth, meeting weekly throughout the academic year. Designed to build relationships and trust amongst youth recruited into our program, club time is the heart of our programming.
With a 1:5 staff to student ratio, youth club is structured around a group mentoring context. We strive to create a safe space that opens the door for honest conversation and facilitates healthy support systems. As we discuss real life issues, we encourage our youth to think critically about the world and their decisions. Through this, the youth begin to define their culture and reshape their identity and values.
Currently, we have an operating high school club with an average weekly attendance ranging from 25-30 students from the nine northeast Denver neighborhoods. Beginning January 1, 2017 we will be adding our elementary club, followed by our middle school club in 2018.
A unique program that has commitment to unleash leadership potential of youth in the community.
Purpose for the Emerging Leaders Program
- The process by which you grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and are equipped by the Holy Spirit, who resides in our hearts, to overcome the pressures and trials of this present life and become more and more Christ-like.
- Examine your thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God
- Ask honest questions and receive honest answers about life, Christianity and God
- As you grow in knowledge of self embracing the gifts God has given you, your life purpose and vocation will become more clear
- You will have opportunities to study the life of leaders who have had great success in a vocation area for which you are passionate about
- You will be able to define a clear vocation plan
- An invitation to join a leadership team that takes responsibility for leading the children’s program and summer day camp
- A transformative “job” that becomes an opportunity to exercise your unique talents, alongside ongoing events with teachable moments.
- There will be multiple opportunities to learn about God and yourself in a real-life context of meaningful service
Our Emerging Leaders program is a 7-month Urban Youth Leadership Development program for six-eight qualified high school youth each year. The Emerging Leaders program is a practical leadership training environment that empowers youth to discover their own strengths and grow in them. In addition to one-on- one mentoring/coaching, character development, and ongoing spiritual development through our weekly club program, Emerging Leaders receive a $3,000 stipend and scholarship opportunities, as well as trips to annual leadership retreat and national conferences, and local and international mission trips.
To enhance the Emerging Leaders’ experience, youth are challenged to exercise their strengths and abilities amongst elementary school age youth by becoming peer mentors. The Emerging Leaders are also tasked to design, implement and facilitate their own weekly elementary school youth club program, five special annual youth events/activities and lead in a five-week elementary school summer program. Youth who successfully complete the Emerging Leaders program will demonstrate increased capacity in the following areas:
Johnell was born and raised in Denver, Colorado in the Five Points neighborhood. He is married with two chilren, both boys, that he cherishes and for whom he is most thankful to God. Johnell earned a Bachelor of Arts in human services from Columbia
College – Denver and plans to further his education by obtaining a master’s in organizational leadership. In his spare time, he enjoys singing, playing basketball, and volunteering as Youth Sports Coordinator in basketball and football. More than these, however, he loves spending time wth his family.
Johnell accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and was baptized at the age of 7 at Zion Baptist Church, where he served graciously in multiple ministries. While Johnell has always had a deep connection with the Five Points community, it wasn’t until 2009 that Johnell felt called to the ministry to serve at-risk youth in northeast Denver. Growing up as a troubled youth himself who suffered in poverty, Johnell knows all too well the struggle of poverty and how that affects youth who grow up in northeast Denver. Johnell’s mother was a single parent of two children — himself and his younger brother.
He watched his mother struggle for many years, while himself falling victim to some of the negative influences of his neighborhood. Johnell firmly believes that his life was saved through an intervention youth program called Full Circle Inter-Generational Project. It provided both a male role model and academic mentorship, which helped Johnell navigate through his life’s struggles. It was through Full Circle Inter-Generational Project that Johnell found his passion, which is to give back to at-risk youth in the same fashion that was given to him: LIFE.
Hannah came to CrossPurpose in order to start living a life where she lets God reign instead of her fears. Hannah was born an Air Force brat in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A couple of years later her family moved to the Cleveland area. Hannah graduated from Cedarville University in 2010 and served as a social worker in northeast Ohio. During those years, she developed and facilitated a community-based teen program, worked as a counselor at agroup home, and recently was a school-based therapist in the Lorain and Cleveland public schools. Hannah is inspired by the resiliency and passion of young people and desires to become a more effective minister to youth in the city. She is motivated by a yearning to see young people realize their God-given gifts and come to an understanding of the love, hope, and healing found in a relationship with God as they become leaders of their generation.
Hannah also appreciates chocolate, peanut butter, traveling, the color pink, jamming out in her car, worship, and spending time with friends and family.
PLEASE CONTACT OUR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 720-240-0638
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