By Anna Hughes
Hope: that’s what today’s younger generations are searching for, according to Rev. Dr. Dan Meyer. Meyer, the pastor at Christ Church in Oak Brook, gave a compelling speech to local parents at October’s
Young Life fundraising event at Hinsdale Golf Club. Young Life, a non-profit Christian outreach for youth, is a staple in the Chicagoland area; year after year, it brings generations of teenagers closer together and closer to God.
In his speech, Meyer listed the other five things “Gen Z” and “Generation Alpha” are looking for. The second, after hope, is healing. The third is growth, then inner peace, purpose, and truth, respectively.
Research shows, Meyer said, that these kids are searching for identity: who are they in this world of technology, where they have access to the highlight reels of everyone’s lives?
They are staunch advocates for mental health education and destigmatization while dealing with their own trauma, anxieties, and more. These WyldLife and Young Life participants (junior high and high school students) are experiencing a time of confusion, and many are left wondering: where do they fit into it all? Young Life aims to combat this thinking, teaching them that their identity, first and foremost, is as a child of God.
The annual Young Life budget sits just under $300,000 — made manageable thanks to the generosity and continued support of families in the community. One of those supporters in particular is Bob Walsh. Walsh, a former camper turned board member, was honored with the Hinsdale Area Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of financial support and volunteering. Everyone in the room had nothing but praise for Walsh, who has helped hundreds of students grow in their relationship with God.
Some of those students were in attendance at the fundraising event, sharing their testimonies on a poster board. On one side, they shared how they felt before joining Young Life— lost, alone, insecure — and on the other side, how they’ve grown through the program — now filled with love, joy, confidence, and the desire to know God.
Meyer said that 60% of young people truly desire to make a positive impact in the world, and these high school students are certainly part of this majority.
Meyer also recounted his testimony; he’s one of many who can proudly say that Young Life changed his life for the better. Thanks to generous donations from the community that allowed him to attend camp, he was inspired to turn his life into service to God and the local community. You, too, can be one of the people who changes a young life by helping support this organization.
The event raised almost one-third of the needed annual budget, and they still have a long way to go. The committee is hoping for more support. Any gift is extremely appreciated and will help Young Life continue to help our community’s kids grow in this amazing faith-based program.
To support Young Life and WyldLife, please visit giving.younglife.org/easterndupage.