We Believe In You(th) Campaign Continues To Have An Impact On Severna Park


Over a year since its inception, the We Believe in You(th) campaign, launched by Metro Maryland Youth for Christ (MMYFC), continues to impact young people in Severna Park.

MMYFC is a chapter of the larger Youth for Christ organization, founded in 1940 and associated with Billy Graham. The organization aims to provide support and programming for people ages 11-19.

Currently, MMYFC runs programs that reach out to deaf youths, young people in detention centers, military children living at Fort Meade, and teen parents. The overall mission of the organization, according to MMYFC staffer Brooke Atkinson, is “to meet and minister to these young people in any place they may find themselves in.”

The We Believe in You(th) campaign is a relatively new initiative for MMYFC. It aims to expand MMYFC’s mission to support youth beyond its organization. The initiative provides opportunities and resources for community members who frequently interact with young people — including coaches, teachers and parents — to express how much they believe in and support the youth in their lives.

While the We Believe in You(th) campaign is still in its infancy, its ethos and mission have been long-running trends in MMYFC’s work in Severna Park.

“Our church has been involved with Youth for Christ for years,” said the Rev. Dan Smith, pastor of Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church. “The We Believe in You(th) campaign hasn’t been so much a singular event but an emphasis on the work we need to do to support our young people.”

Since the campaign’s inception in 2022, dozens of local businesses, churches and organizations have partnered with MMYFC to support the We Believe in You(th) initiative.

A year after the We Believe in You(th) campaign began, MMYFC hosted a week of events just before the holiday season to celebrate the campaign’s growth and reach more young people across the greater Baltimore region.

The week started with a kickoff event at Redemption City Church in Baltimore. Restaurants hosted spirit nights throughout the week to unite youth and supportive mentors. One of these restaurants was Severna Park eatery La Posta Pizzeria, an especially supportive campaign partner.

During the week, MMYFC worked hard to involve as many young people and mentors as possible.

“We tried to create both a physical and digital movement to cast as wide a net as possible; we worked a lot with our sponsors on the ground by giving out T-shirts and swag,” Atkinson said. “We did a lot of social media work as well — it’s where young people of every background can be reached — so we tried to complement physical and digital word of mouth.”

Smith found the week to have an impact not only on local youth but also his entire congregation.

“I found the strongest impact of the week to be on adults who don’t have direct ties to Severna Park High School,” Smith said. “If you don’t have children at Severna Park High School, you can have an assumption of what teenagers are like, so by bringing a spotlight on the reasons to be excited by our local youth, we hoped to show people they do have very real reasons to be encouraged about our future,” Smith said.

The week culminated with an event held at Lighthouse Church in Glen Burnie. Over 100 young people attended the event and were welcomed with an itinerary of activities and games. MMYFC staff ended the event with a commissioning message. They explained why the initiative mattered to them, their continued plans for supporting youth, and an affirmation of the young people with whom MMYFC works.

Atkinson’s favorite moments of the week occurred during the Lighthouse Church event when young people shared the week’s impact through testimonials.

“It felt good when students, some of whom were feeling down or discouraged, shared how much it meant to get a personalized text message, letter, or note from a mentor they respected,” Atkinson explained. “The air of encouragement and uplift the young people felt really made the week worth it.”

MMYFC conducts programming and provides support for youth ages 11-19 year-round. Information on how to get involved can be found at www.mmyfc.org.


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