- Fire Escape After School Program
Fire Escape is an after school program that takes place in the evening, once a week, and is designed to provide at-risk youth with encouragement and support in the following key areas: character development, academic achievement, and mentoring relationships. Our after school program also consists of the Fire Escape Mentoring/tutoring program which is conducted on a weekly basis, with the goals of creating quantifiable improvement in the youth we mentor.
Dozens of youth attend Fire Escape weekly. During their time in the program they participate in various games, field trips, and positive relationship-building activities, and are also provided with a solid meal and various snacks. One notable facet of this after-school program is the 'Reading Hour', which focuses on improving children's reading skills by utilizing small group dynamics and encouraging personal interaction between teachers and students. Once a month Fire Escape conducts an outreach event that draws in a much larger group of kids, and considerable efforts are made to follow-up with these new-comers in order that they might be integrated into the regular, weekly program.
- Pathfinders Wilderness Camps
Pathfinders Wilderness Camps are another valuable program CRYI offers to the local youth. Those who attend these camps have the chance to experience a rugged, backcountry setting where they learn about wilderness survival, environmental conservation, and team building through a variety of social exercises. The camp leaders are able to bond with the campers and share stories and mentor them, while always seeking to convey the importance of positive decision-making. The primary goal is to equip these at-risk youth with faith, hope, and other tools that will help them increase in self-discipline, as well as their sense of self-worth.
Many have found the Pathfinders Wilderness Camps to be unparalleled in their capacity to invoke spiritual, physical, and social development. Perhaps the most significant aspect of these wilderness trips is that it allows some of the most hardened youth to get away from the craziness of the streets for a moment. The peaceful and quiet surroundings offer them a chance to reflect on the life they’re leading, while the teachings they receive encourage them to consider, healthier opportunities that are available to them. Because of this dynamic, CRYI camps create a rare opportunity for the lives of hardened youth to be spiritually impacted, possibly more than any other program we offer. Often, the changes these kids go through are bound to touch the lives of others, such as their families, as well. This means that the entire community can benefit when a youth attends a Pathfinders Wilderness Camp. CRYI hopes to have the ability to send hundreds of kids to camp this year and in the years to come. This program also helps build partnerships with other youth organizations in order to give more youth a wider variety of camping opportunities to participate in.
CRYI offers several short-term and long-term internship opportunities to college age students, as well as to selective high school students. This year (2007) we plan to bring in more interns and train them extensively in conducting urban outreach to the poor. Coordinating a CRYI event, such as one of our seasonal outreach events, is one of the many ways these new interns will get their feet wet. We involve countless volunteers for each individual CRYI event, and many of these will evolve into interns as they feel a greater calling to the inner-city. Intern commitment levels can range anywhere from ten hours a week (part-time) to sixty hours a week (full-time).
- Sports Outreach Program
The Sports Outreach Program is designed to influence youth through the popular medium of sports. Its primary focus is to serve the local community by equipping, empowering, and encouraging young people to make positive choices in their lives through athletic participation. Activities include the following: sports clinics, camps, tournaments, recognition ceremonies, and school outreaches. Over the years, CRYI has conducted a number of sports outreach events in conjunction with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Arizona State University (ASU), Southwestern College, and City of Phoenix Public Schools. This year (2007) we anticipate revamping our sports program by way of further strengthening and developing our present relationships with FCA and ASU. The CRYI sports program has a history of providing tremendous benefits to the community and reaching hundreds of kids over the years.
- Lighthouse Homeless Youth Program
National statistics document that there are nearly two million homeless kids and street kids currently in the United States. Half of these are under the age of fifteen and some are as young as nine. Even more frightening is the statistic that reveals that 36% of these young kids have been on the streets for more than three years. In response to these growing numbers CRYI has established a vital street outreach, “The Lighthouse Homeless Youth Program”. The chief components of this program are dedicated counselors who visit the streets and try to reach these impoverished young people, through both words and actions. By speaking with the kids in their own language, and not putting unreasonable expectations on them, the counselors are able to go to their level and connect with the youth in a dynamic way. These volunteers are determined to succeed in, if nothing else, just showing these kids that they genuinely care. This program pours a tremendous amount of effort into sending counselors to the streets each year and CRYI anticipates working with hundreds of homeless in 2007.
- Reach A Street
This program is designed to give service groups from churches, school, etc., a meaningful opportunity to serve in the inner-city. The program educates on urban mission and fights blight and neighborhood decline.
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