Greater Miami Youth For Christ, a 73-year-old Miami-Dade County organization with a distinct history of youth outreach, was recently awarded a $41,000 grant for its work with indigenous leaders by the prestigious Ocean Reef Community Foundation located in Key Largo, Florida.

In awarding the grant, Ocean Reef Foundation executive director Yurianna Mikolay said, “We are pleased to be able to designate these funds to such a deserving and talented group of individuals like the young leadership we see at the Homestead City-Life KIX program. We have seen, in the past, just how important KIX and Greater Miami Youth for Christ have become in the Homestead area, particularly over the past 29 years, and it is our pleasure to continue supporting this outstanding program.”

The Ocean Reef Community Foundation was born of many Ocean Reef Club members’ wishes to maximize the impact of their philanthropic efforts. The efficiency of the foundation’s management has become a source of encouragement for contributions and bequests, according to the OR Community Foundation’s website.

City-Life KIX serves more than 300 children and youth in three locations of Miami-Dade County: West Homestead/Florida City; Goulds; and North Miami Golden Glades.

All City Life KIX clubs offer character and spiritual development, homework assistance, sports and arts programs, and life skills development. KIX was founded in 1992 by former elementary school teacher Stacy Morales, who started and developed the program by being a champion advocate for at-risk kids in Homestead.

City-Life KIX is just one of five programs operating under the Greater Miami Youth for Christ umbrella. It is located at 1088 W. Mowry Drive in Homestead. The others are: Campus Life, Catalyst Hip Hop, Juvenile Justice Outreach, MYLI (Miami Youth Leadership Initiative), and a Mentoring Program.

One of the pillars of the City Life KIX program is raising indigenous leaders. The objective is to develop young adult and high school indigenous leaders who value and give back to their community.

“Our youth are one of the greatest assets of our community, and they have gifts to offer, desire for growth and potential for development. With relational mentorship, students can be equipped as leaders to contribute to their community in the long-term”, said Mrs. Morales.

Bonnie Rodriguez, executive director of Greater Miami Youth for Christ, speaking of the indigenous leaders grant, said, “Since they already speak the language – in the case of Homestead, Creole and Spanish – we believe that indigenous leaders are the most important people to encourage and equip. It is our purpose to seek to identify and nurture young leaders who have an obvious calling from God on their lives to minister in their own urban community. We are thrilled with Ocean Reef’s response to our request in providing this grant. Ocean Reef has been an exemplary partner of YFC for many years, and we are extremely grateful for their generous support.”

Greater Miami Youth for Christ exists to help young people develop a relationship with Jesus and reach their God-given potential. Over 7,000 youth participate in programs at 22 locations throughout Miami-Dade. The national organization, Youth for Christ, was founded in Chicago in 1945, just after WWII, and was instrumental in helping returning soldiers establish and re-establish their lives.

Evangelical leader Rev. Dr. Billy Graham was the first full-time employee of YFC in the 40’s, and he came to Miami then to lead one of many youth rallies held throughout the nation.

Greater Miami Youth for Christ is located in Kendall at 9350 SW 79th Avenue, Miami, Florida 33156. . For more information, or to make a tax-deductible donation, call 305-271-2442.

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