Operation Youthreach mentors teens, teaches Bible lessons

Apr. 19, 2013 @ 11:01 PM

BY JILL FRYE

Staff Writer

It began as a small group of about 20 teens. Operation Youthreach now serves over 300 members at all five Sevier County branches of the Boys and Girls Club.

When Seth Wilson, the founder of Youthreach, began the program in June 2010, he never dreamed it would be so successful. That September, the Sevierville branch of the Boys and Girls Club invited him into a partnership, and from there the program blossomed.

Youthreach is a nonprofit organization, relying solely on donations to carry out its mission: "To reach those with little or no hope for Jesus." The ministry and focus of the group are to bring mentoring and Bible study to those who can't or don't attend church.

Wilson said the most rewarding aspect of the program is seeing the attitudes of the kids change. "It's not just a Bible teaching program," he said. "It's a mentoring program, too. We show them we love them. We're not just here to cram the Bible down their throats."

When teaching, though, Wilson said they start with the basics. "About 75 percent of the kids are from broken or troubled homes. We have teenagers who haven't heard of David and Goliath."

In addition to mentoring and teaching, the program also partners with Live It Ministries to perform community service projects such as performing yard and house work for the elderly.

"It's just a great way to put something positive in their hands for them to do instead of them finding things out in the world to do," Wilson said.

Operation Youthreach seeks volunteers. To find out more or donate to Youthreach, visit www.operationyouthreach.com. n

jfrye@themountainpress.com