June 30, 2011 3:16:00 PM
In the last month, we have been dizzied by a seemingly endless stream of youth summits and "motivational" drivel.
In an editorial June 17, we called for community leaders hosting these events to focus their efforts toward something more meaningful, something that could make a long-term impact on the lives of children.
In Tuesday''s Dispatch, we printed a story about the Father''s Child Ministry.
Edward Yeates, founder of that ministry, quietly is making a loud impact on the lives of dozens of children.
He doesn''t offer them lectures. He offers them something they might not otherwise have -- a father figure. He camps with them, studies the Bible with them, mentors them, laughs with them, cries with them.
And he opens up to them.
To reach children, you have to earn their trust. It''s not earned through pep talks from a podium or summits intended for the glorification of their organizers. It''s earned by spending time with them, letting them know you care. It''s teaching by example.
Yeates himself grew up without a father. He uses his own story as a testament to how a young person can grow up, even with one parent, and defy the statistics. And, the statistics are not pretty -- 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes; 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes; 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes; 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
While in college, Yeates found himself doing things he''s not proud of. He got drunk. He hit his girlfriend. He became a man he didn''t want to be.
Yeates turned his life around and began the Fatherless Child Ministry to help other fatherless children grow to their potential, not to statistics.
The ministry has since changed its name and expanded its reach. Yeates and his wife, Barbara, head the Father''s Child Ministry, working with dozens of area children.
Along with a mentoring program for children, the agency offers a support group for mothers and a father outreach program. We applaud the efforts of Edward and Barbara Yeates.
Their ministry is one program that is trying to make a meaningful difference rather than just a lot of noise.
For more on Yeates'' ministry, see fatherschild.org.