Youth for Christ: Troopers unite through faith

Youth for Christ has had a striking turnout this school year. Ranging from 60-80 members, the club has been a sanctuary for all students seeking fellowship.

Sponsor Candelaria Monsivais briefly defined what Youth for Christ generally is.

"Youth for Christ is a national organization where students of all denominations gather to read and share God's word," Monsivais said.

At a very basic level, this definition accurately defines YFC, but to the members, it means so much more. Worship leader, Carlos Arellano describes Youth for Christ as a sort of haven.

"It's a great place for students who are looking for a deeper meaning outside of church and normal places of worship," Arellano said. "It's a great place for students to gather and learn more about God and life."

Officer Christian Iglesias, defines YFC as a more of a relationship than an extracurricular activity.

"[Youth for Christ] is a religious group where anybody who believes in God can come and grow together spiritually at school and help spread the message through God's word," Iglesias said.

The club meets every Tuesday at lunch in the choir room. The meetings open with praise and worship, and consist of a teaching and food, all courtesy of the sponsoring church, The Rock Faith Center.

Iglesias is extremely grateful for the church's contributions.

"I really appreciate the sponsor, Pastor Tony Hayward," Iglesias said. "He's very bold and humble in his walk of faith, and he shows that when he preaches. One year we didn't have a sponsor and it was really hard."

Aside from sermons and free lunch, the club offers occasional recreational activities as well. Arellano remembers a few times when the club strayed from the orthodox.

"Sometimes we replace a meeting with a game of ultimate frisbee or football or something," Arellano said. "It's so much fun."

Youth for Christ also partakes in volunteer work around the community. Recently, the club was asked by Student Council to donate Thanksgiving baskets to provide meals for the underprivileged, and they readily consented.

Iglesias also described a unique opportunity that some members were given.

"We got a couple volunteers from Eastwood to go help at a big Christian concert at the Plaza Theater," said Iglesias. "We got to bless kids with the chance to enjoy good fellowship and through that they met different YFC members."

To the members and sponsors, the interaction is the most vital aspect of Youth for Christ.

"We try to have these kids build relationships," said Monsivais. "We want them to connect with one another as Christian kids have the same struggles and they can find someone who is going through the same thing."

Officer Joshua Ramirez enjoys to see these connections begin to form.

"I like seeing how many kids come," Ramirez said. "I like seeing how many people are not afraid to show their faith at Eastwood."

As great as the turnout has been for Youth for Christ this school year, the sponsors and members all hope for further involvement and encourage others to join.

"I don't want to be like every club," Ramirez said. "I want YFC to be different."

Arellano hopes Youth for Christ will continue in its surge of prosperity.

"Since I'm a senior, I hope the underclassmen carry on what we've been doing," Arellano said. "I think it'd be awesome to get over a hundred people within the next few years. I hope they maintain a good establishment as a very looked-up to organization."