Hope Now For Youth
Rev. Roger Minassian started Hope Now for Youth in Fresno at the end of April of 1992. Roger just had ended a 4-day prayer session asking God for direction. During this time Roger met with three local gang members. He remembers one vividly. This young man was 14 years old and lived with his grandmother. Roger asked him about his parents. His mother was a heroin addict and his father was getting out of jail, from a one-year prison term. He also added that his stepmother was raped and murdered by his father’s brother his uncle. After this conversation, as Roger was driving home, he started to cry. Crying was something that Roger rarely did. So much so he had to pull his car off the road and ask God why. Roger realized he was furious that he gets to watch, through his life, that these gang members are wasting away. Soon after Hope Now for Youth was established. The requirements for the clients:
. 16-24 years old
. Been in Gangs
. High School Drop OutIn 1992 there were 87 homicides in the city of Fresno. Mostly these homicides were gang-related.
Hope now in 2018
Pastor Bryce Naylor is the Executive Director and explains how their program works. Bryce states that when one life changes it has an immediate effect on six others. That is not including the future generations. He explains that the men who enter their doors are men who have been rejected by society, gang members, and drug addicts. They have also been told by their families and friends that you can’t change and don’t even try. At this time 185 gangs exist in the city of Fresno. So their program is much needed. Hope Now for Youth is a Christ-based program, but they don’t force anyone solely down that road. Their mission is to find these men jobs. Their program lasts 3 weeks. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for 3.5 hours they meet to work with counselors, staff and their colleagues to help overcome their daily challenges.
Pastor Bryce explains that they need help with donated bikes, cars and odd jobs. An odd job is, someone from the community has work to do around the house, they can call to have their client come and gain work experience. They only ask that they pay minimum wage and work at least 3 hours. Pastor explains the difference between dirty money and clean money. Clean money is money earned honestly and dirty money is what they’re used to making. There’s a feeling of accomplishment when honest money is made.
Their number one graduate from 1994 is still employed by the hospital that hired him back in 1994. Hope Now for Youth is making the changes inside this Fresno community. They always need help and look forward to helping the less fortunate.