Saturday, October 9, 2010

CRISIS IN THE INNER-CITY


Yolanda Conley Shields
 As the ED of Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee – Youth Life Learning Centers, I regularly go to meetings with city officials and Metro police department representatives. Every day I receive by an email police report with all the previous day’s incident in the neighborhoods we serve. Some days I intentionally don’t read the reports because it breaks my heart to see how many young people we are losing. All across the country, and particularly in Nashville, so many of our young people are falling through the cracks with no one there to catch them.  In addition to the things I see happening to individual children in these neighborhoods, there the sad and sorry statistics. The recently published-
Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males found that only 47 percent of black males graduated from high school in the 2007-2008 school year. The report’s authors also stated that the results of the eighth grade reading assessment test scores, which measure how many black males read at or above the proficiency level, “should set off alarm bells.” The “best” score was a dramatically low: 15 percent (Kentucky, New Jersey), and several states averaged only five percent (Mississippi, Nevada). According to the report, “More than twice as many black students are classified as ‘mentally retarded’ in spite of research demonstrating that the percentages of students from all groups are approximately the same at each intelligence level.” The report adds, “The persistent over-classification of black male students as ‘mentally retarded’ reflects, at best, a lack of professional development in this area for teachers and other staff.” For more information on this report go to http://www.blackboysreport.org/


So who to blame — the school system, parents, students, or political/community leaders? It’s not about the blame but about looking for solutions. I know what teachers mean when they say, “If we can reach just one child…” But why can’t we reach more than one? The great need for Youth Life Learning Centers is reaffirmed every day when I see the increase in juvenile crime in YLLC neighborhoods as well as the waiting list for children wanting to get into our program. 

YLLCs attack the problem of at-risk kids in inner-city Nashville with a proven strategy that concentrates sufficient attention and resources on each child, enabling that child to overcome the enormous challenges in their life and surrounding neighborhood. It is the philosophy of Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee that to achieve consistent results among a large majority of  the youth being served, the program has to consistently address a variety of  issues. In short, the Youth Life Learning Center program takes a lot of  work. If you take short-cuts, the positive results as a whole will diminish proportionally.


Over the last 30-40, years billions of dollars and countless volunteer hours have been marshaled to attack the problems facing inner-city youth. Yet, by many standards the problems have worsened. There are no simplistic answers because the obstacles inner-city children must overcome are both many and formidable. While every little bit helps, unless there is a concentrated effort applied to each individual child, large investments of time and money will produce sporadic and inconsistent results at best.
 
It Is about COMMITMENT AND CONSISTENCY. This takes place with great teachers, volunteers, and donors. That is our approach. Join us and be that difference for a child. BECOME A CHAMPION FOR A CHILD !

Saturday, April 10, 2010

HAVE YOU MADE UP YOUR MIND? DIGGING DEEPER

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let go, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I am finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, position, promotion, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on His presence. I love with patience. I live by prayer. I labor with power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road is narrow. My way is rough. My companions are few. My guide is reliable, and my mission clear.


Cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a child of God. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.


I must go until He comes, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He stops me. And when Jesus comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, for my banner is clear. I am a Child of God.
Writing of a young African Pastor prior to his martyrdom

Yolanda Conley Shields April 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

ALWAYS SISTERS ALWAYS FRIENDS

ALWAYS SISTERS ALWAYS FRIENDS



As the song goes “Always Sisters Always Friends will be together till the end” (Winans). There is nothing like having sisters. My sisters and I have had some amazing journeys during our lives. My oldest sister Iris has always tried to be the mama for all of us. My sister Regina was the one that always thought she had to take up for us.

Sheila continues to be an amazing mom who has homeschooled her children all 12 years. Nickie keeps on amazing us with her vocal gifts. Tiara our youngest sister is just starting her journey and will be an amazing mother and nurse.

Always stay close to your sisters because when things get hard they are still there and will help you with their love and prayers. I use to think that my mother was hard on us, but now I thank God today for how she raised us. God has truly blessed us and continues to lead and guide us in the destiny He has for us. If you have sisters remember to stay close and love them. This is not a dress rehearsal this is the real thing.




The Importance Of A Sister
A sister is someone who loves you from the heart, No matter how much you argue you cannot be drawn apart. She is a joy that cannot be taken away, Once she enters your life, she is there to stay. A friend who helps you through difficult times, her comforting words are worth much more than dimes. A partner who fills your life with laughs and smile,These memories last for miles and miles. When she is by your side, the world is filled with life, When she is not around, your days are full of strife. A sister is a blessing, who fills your heart with love, She flies with you in life with the beauty of a dove. A companion to whom you can express your feelings, She doesn’t let you get bored at family dealings. Whether you are having your ups or downs,She always helps you with a smile and never frowns. With a sister you cannot have a grudge, She is as sweet as chocolate and as smooth as fudge.  Having a sister is not just a trend, It is knowing you can always turn to her, your best friend.


BY: Shiv Sharma




You are a True Beauty
Your real beauty is a work of art-hand carved by Me. I have given you beautiful lips to speak words of life, beautiful eyes to see Me in everything, beautiful hands to help those in need and beautiful face to reflect My love to the world. I know you don’t see yourself the way I do because you compare yourself to beauty idols that will soon be forgotten. I will work wonders that will radiate true beauty from within. And when My work is completed, your character will show off My craftsmanship, and your beauty marks will be remembered by all that were loved by you.


Love,


Jesus Christ your Radiant King


April 3, 2010



Sunday, January 3, 2010

God’s Eyes Are Watching Us


God’s Eyes Are Watching Us


The Great Commission is one of the most significant passages in the Holy Bible. First, it's the last recorded personal instruction given by Jesus to His disciples. Second, it's a special calling from Jesus Christ to all His followers to take specific action while on this earth.


And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)


How many people have we shared Christ with in the past 10 year, last year, last month, or last week? As we walk in our  callings and destiny that God has given us let us not forget the great commission. This is our number one calling from Jesus Christ. I pray in the next decade God will give us more of a hunger for souls. He gives us opportunities everyday to share the love of Christ with someone. The teaching that we get each Sunday it not just to keep for ourselves it is to share with others. So continue to get equipped to go out into the world and share the love of Christ. Let this year not just be about SELF.



Begin to pray and ask God for souls. There are people on our jobs, students and families in our classrooms, our family members, and neighbors, even people sitting in our congregations that we walk past and never share with. I believe as we begin to get hungry for souls God will continue to reveal himself to us and show us glorious and mighty things we don’t know. Prayer creates a hunger for souls. It's important for us to pray in order to have a clear vision of the ... Proverbs 11:30) “The fruits of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise”. Like a deer that pants for water lets desire to pray for souls (don't stop praying)







Yolanda Conley Shields


Jan 2010