Our program’s effectiveness is reliant upon the generous donations of our supporters. You can make an online donation now or support us by participating in our fundraising events. Please consider how you can support Youth Venture.
Donate by clicking below. Please please select Youth Venture from the dropdown menu.
You can send your contributions to:
c/o Foothills Christian Church
350 Cypress Lane
El Cajon, CA 92020
The Golf Tournament is a wonderful way to support Youth Venture. We enjoy a day of golf, a delicious dinner, terrific raffles and a hole-in-one opportunity to win great prizes. Youth Venture is one of the most influential youth programs successfully helping thousands of teens in San Diego’s East County.
This annual event is a major source of funding for Youth Venture.
My granddad always said, “kids are the future.” For over 20 years he has been raising money to give to organizations in East County that help kids. Inspired by his passion, I wanted to do what I could to help youth also. I have personally seen how Youth Venture really works and changes lives. Some of the most committed Christians I know today started out going to Youth Venture. The best time to reach someone is when they’re a kid. The older we get, the more this opportunity dimishes. But, it’s never too late.
When I was in high school I was in trouble a lot and spent a good amount of time in the principal’s office. I was blessed to have adults who didn’t give up on me. They spent time to give me direction. Eventually, I got my life together because of their investment in me. I truly appreciated their influence and they have become my role models. Now, when I spend time with my (former) principal it’s because we are friends. I understand the need for good adult role models.
I believe in the potential of people. I’ve seen what just one person, like my granddad, can do. I’ve always dreamed about helping kids and teaching them life skills that they don’t learn in school. I used to think it would be cool to have a place for kids that was both fun and helpful. I see that in Youth Venture. THE LEADERS AND VOLUNTEERS AT YOUTH VENTURE AREN’T AFRAID TO STEP UP, GET INVOLVED AND INVEST IN YOUNG PEOPLE.This is the kind of thing I want to support.
About 9 years ago my husband and I both felt a tug on our hearts to see what Youth Venture was all about. We heard about it these “teen centers” when we attended church and we would drive by the one in Lakeside almost every day. We were developing a serious curiosity to somehow help out. We still remember our first day, not knowing what to do, what our job description was or what the rules were. It felt as if we were thrown into the frying pan with a bunch of teenagers who were going to make sure that we knew that they were in charge. After that day and much discussion and a whole lot of prayer, we decided to come back the following week and weeks to follow. Intimidating, challenging and never a dull moment, to say the least, Youth Venture became the next chapter of our lives.
It hasn’t always been easy but the relationships we’ve developed through the years are priceless. We have been cussed at, spit on, flipped off and threatened. Remarkably those same kids have become dear to us and we now share a deeper friendship. The teens at YV are in desperate need of adults who will listen to them, respect them, guide them, and love them. The lessons we do with the kids really make the kids (and us) think about real life situations. The lessons cover such things as having a relationship with a God who truly loves us, why character is so important, how to deal with the peer pressure to smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, and have sex, and many more great lessons.
We believe if we can influence or redirect the path of even just one kid, then it has all been worth it. The reality is we are influencing many young people with the help of the other staff members. God has given us an abundance of love for these lost teens to love, nurture, and care for them like they were our own. These teens are the future and they are reaching out for help. Everyday life can pose challenges for them. Youth Venture provides a safe haven for teenagers and gives them every opportunity to express how they feel. It’s a place where they can learn that the Bible gives important advice on how to stay strong and live out your faith.Eric and Donna Clayton
It has been our passion to support Youth Venture since the first one opened in El Cajon. We saw the vision of our Pastors, ‘No child left behind’. We saw the changes in the kids, and we were excited and wanted to get involved. We own our own business so volunteering our time is difficult, but we are able to support Youth Venture financially and by doing fundraisers like the Youth Venture Golf Tournament.
As small business owners we have struggled over the past few years due to the economy, and last year was probably our worst year yet. It was then that Lillian and I decided to give away a percentage of the gross income of Southern Can Telecom, Inc. Sales went up and we had some of the best months that we’ve had in the past 3 years. Then God put in my heart to double that percentage and sales have continued through the months which are normally the slowest months of the year. These are now the best months that we have had in over 3 years!
These young people are our future leaders and so it is to our benefit to give them an opportunity to become productive, God-fearing me and women in our society. Many kids that are part of Youth Venture come from some pretty rough backgrounds where they are left on their own much of the time; they don’t get the attention, guidance or love that every child needs. Youth Venture gives them direction. hope and love…are raising up men and women who truly love the Lord and are making a difference in God’s Kingdom.”Skip & Lil Keifer
One Wednesday evening in 2005, when I visited Youth Venture in Lakeside my life changed. I went to visit my friend, Chuck Hicks, who was a volunteer Youth Venture mentor. Since I like to cook for other people, I brought my homemade salsa with chips to share with the kids. Some were eating it as if it were the only meal the had had that day. It touched my heart and I asked Chuck if I could feed them dinner the following week. After a few months, I started cooking dinner for the Youth Venture in South El Cajon, as well as for the Lakeside center. They loved it and I loved cooking for them. One night I had left over food, so I took it to the larger El Cajon center on Broadway. I remember a little boy asking me if I would be back. “Yes, I would,” I replied. Now I was bringing dinners to three centers, two on Wednesdays and one on Fridays.
Where would I get the money to fund three dinners a week? That’s when I decided to create my own business “Refining Fire” to sell my sauces and do small catering jobs. This gave me enough money to feed all these kids every week and later on to send many of them to San Diego State University athletic events. I was even able to get athletes from SDSU to visit and spend time with the kids at the centers. God provided a way for all this to happen. Normally a father would be there to do these things, except most of them do not have a father active in their lives. When these kids eat my meals its like God telling the “I love you.” When the go to an event or a game it the same. He says “I love you,” even though your home is broken, your parents are broken and you are poor. He says “I love you,” even if you have made the wrong choices.
I am deeply gratified the He uses me and the gifts He has given me to tell the kids He loves them.
Jim Duffy has been a faithful support of YV for over 3 years. He owns and operates “Refining Fire” catering business. You can find out more about how Jim helps YV atwww.refiningfirechiles.com
For several years there had been a tugging on my heart to serve at Youth Venture. You see, I can identify with many of the young people that come to Youth Venture. My parents had divorced when I was only three and there plenty of disappointments and hardships growing up. I remember when I was 9 years old I would stand in line in the hot sun with mom feeling ashamed to receive welfare commodities – there were no food stamps then.
I started volunteering at the Lakeside center when it first opened, but had to quit when my wife, Sheila, became ill and I was needed at home. I wasn’t able to give my time, but I hoped some day to be able to give financially to support Youth Venture.
For many years I wanted to start my own business and finally it happened. God granted me my desire. I was able to open J&S Restaurant Services Inc. Right away, Sheila and I decided to give back to God by financially supporting Youth Venture.
It was not until last week that I realized something quite amazing. Something I had forgotten from some 40 years. The doors, from which we stood collecting our food, were the same doors I tore down recently to enlarge my business. You see, the building my business is in is the same building where I stood as a kid with my mom. The same place that once caused me shame and embarrassment now brings me joy and pride.
I now give to Youth Venture helping kids in my community though my business. Money was something we didn’t have as a kid, but now we are able to give from our abundance. God took a low point in my life and turned it into good. I have to believe He knew all along I would walk through those doors again, this time in victory.
Every member of our family has served at Youth Venture in some way. Youth Venture provides a safe, fun, family-type atmosphere where kids can hang out and learn from real people who they really are in Christ Jesus. Our desire is to see a change in the youth of our community. It’s not a burden; it’s something we just do.
Joe Schworm and his wife Sheila have helped Youth Venture over the years in many ways along with their three children, Jesse, Cody and Stacy. Their business, J&R Restaurant Services Inc. is located in Lakeside at Woodside Ave. and Wintergardens Blvd.
Our three kids were in their early teens when the original Youth Venture was opened on Graves Avenue next to the 7-11. We were a close knit family, but as our teens grew older they started asking the “questions of life” that required an understanding that we didn’t have. They began attending Youth Venture and going through the lessons and going to the camps and on trips. Our eldest became very involved in the youth group at Foothills Christian Church and volunteered in their Kids Church.
We would sit for many hours talking about the things they were learning in church and they would bring up the questions to which I didn’t have the answers. I would give them questions to take back to church and later we would discuss those as well. During this time I was looking into New Age and other philosophies searching for a deeper answers about life myself. Also, our son was really growing strong in character, maturity and willingness to serve others. We later found out that he and our two daughters were spending a lot of time at Youth Venture and building good friendships.
One sunday in late 1994 our kids were dressed up for church. They were going to be in an illustrated sermon. “You mean, like a play on stage?” we asked. Well, every parent wants to see their kids on stage, so we went too. This was our first time at Foothills and we heard a message that rang like a bell in our hearts. We began attending regularly. A year later all five of us were baptized together. We started getting involved with our kids at Youth Venture and its summer and winter camps and other youth group activities. Eventually, we ran the Youth Venture program until 2001. Today all our children are married with Christian spouses and serve the Lord. Youth Venture, with all its contributors and volunteers, was certainly the gateway to our family’s victory in the Lord.Mike and Dana Wascher