A program that aims to provide hope to young people held its inaugural week-long campaign for the region shortly before the holiday season began.
The We Believe in You(th) campaign was launched by Metro Maryland Youth for Christ, or MMYFC. It’s designed to provide hope to young people in the region by telling them that their communities believe in them and their future as well as what they have to offer. According to organizers, the campaign also aims to raise support to continue MMYFC services that assist local youth in schools, neighborhoods and detention centers.
Metro Maryland Youth for Christ executive director Stephen Kaiss said his organization decided to bring the program to Maryland because the last several years have been hard on people, especially the youth population.
“This message will never get old; young people need to know they’re valuable,” Kaiss said.
During the campaign, We Believe in You(th) signs could be spotted in yards and around schools and businesses in the Severna Park area. Videos of encouragement were also posted on social media, notes were shared, and clothing with the campaign’s logo were sported.
Severna Park High School junior Isabel Fay got involved with the campaign because of her participation with her school’s Campus Life youth group. During the week, Fay received handwritten notes and texts from leaders and friends, and had a dinner to support the cause, where the restaurant staff wore shorts for We Believe in You(th).
“I think it is incredibly important for youth to be recognized in today’s society because a lot of high schoolers my age walk through life feeling unappreciated,” Fay said. “Everyone is going through something completely different and working hard, so a little recognition once in a while can really make an impact on someone my age.”
Severna Park senior Jediah Madera said that leaders he met through Youth for Christ reached out to students, including him, and posted tailored videos online on how much they believed in each individual during the We Believe in You(th) campaign.
“I believe it is important for youth to be recognized and validated in today's society because the majority of the time, teens' emotions are neglected or put off as immature,” Madera said. “In reality, teens just want someone to talk to and can open up to someone, even if it's just one person, who won't judge them or bash them — they just want someone to understand them.”
“You never know how your words can impact somebody,” said Kaiss, recalling a We Believe in You(th) event where a young person opened up to him that they were considering taking their life, but the program changed their mind.
Kaiss offered a question of how to recognize if somebody needs encouragement. He answered himself immediately.
“If they’re breathing,” Kaiss said.
Organizers say they’re excited to build on the campaign’s success this year, and they hope to see even more involvement from the community in November, when the next We Believe in You(th) is scheduled.
Emily Fay, Isabel’s twin, said it’s crucial for today’s youth to be recognized, not just for their academic or athletic achievements but for who they are.
“Kids these days, especially in Severna Park, are valued on what they can do,” Emily Fay said. “But the We Believe in You(th) program highlighted their personalities and facets that make them who they are and who they will be. Things that make them valuable.”
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