Supported Charities / Young Life Capernaum
I met Tony four years ago when we started Capernaum in La Canada, CA. He was shy, to himself, and would only utter one or two word responses when asked questions. He would say, "I’m fine" or "Good...". Tony has autism and sometimes has difficulty communicating his thoughts and feelings. This is the Tony we first met. When Tony came to Young Life summer camp in 2009, he seemed to come alive in a way he never had before. On the third night of camp, Tony was asked if he wanted to share about his family. He not only started speaking, but also continued in full sentences and didn’t stop for ten full minutes. The leaders, one being my husband Austin, stared at each other with mouths wide open in amazement. They didn’t recognize the open, vulnerable, and outspoken side of Tony that was radiating. We had no idea he so desperately wanted to talk and tell his story; but he did and it didn’t stop there. Tony became a leader among his friends and continued initiating questions all week long. Tony has found a safe haven of friends and adult mentors through Capernaum and boldly embraces life and adventure.
Young Life began in 1941 and is now located in more than 77 countries around the world. As one facet of Young Life, Capernaum has been specifically giving kids with disabilities new opportunities to discover their potential since it began in 1986 in San Jose, California. Since then it has spread to Young Life areas around the world, with over 160 Capernaum ministries reaching out to more than 2500 kids with disabilities on a weekly basis. In the Greater Pasadena area, Fun Life is our locally adopted name for Young Life Capernaum.
- Fun Life Capernaum in Greater Pasadena
Fun Life is established and supported locally by caring people with a heart for adolescents with disabilities. Throughout La Canada, La Crescenta, Glendale, Pasadena, San Marino and South Pasadena communities, Young Life staff and trained adult volunteer leaders are investing in students’ lives, building meaningful relationships. Currently, a team of 14 leaders is committed to serving local kids and young adults with disabilities. Fun Life meets weekly for club – the best night of the week for thousands of kids every week. Why is that? We like to think of it as a party with a purpose. It’s controlled chaos that’s almost impossible to describe, but kids know it when they see it. And before the party ends, we share a simple message about God’s love for them. After all, that’s what the celebration is all about.
Capernaum meets an endless number of needs for young people with disabilities. At club, dinner is always provided, caring for physical needs as well as creating a safe, social environment for students across school districts and communities to interact and gain independence. Throughout the school year, special events are additionally prepared including a Prom Dinner & Dance, Talent Show, and Christmas Party. During the summer, Capernaum goes camping to one of Young Life's pristine camp properties. All of these activities are done with the simple belief that kids' lives are worth investing in, regardless of ability level.
- Why Capernaum?
Teenagers who have disabilities, like their able-bodied peers, have dreams and hopes. They long to interact socially and have the same life experiences as other typical kids. But because of limited mobility or other barriers, kids with disabilities don’t have the same opportunities to connect with others. In Young Life we believe young people with disabilities have the right to experience life lived to the fullest. We believe that kids who need assistance can and should participate fully in activities that build self-esteem, challenge their limits and help them discover their ability to do new things. And, we believe that all adolescents deserve the opportunity to explore a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Did You Know?
- One out of our five adolescents has a disability.
- Only one in fifteen churches has a specific program designed for kids with disabilities.
- 650 million people in the world have a disability. If that number of people were a nation, it would be the third largest.
- This population leads the nation in homelessness and poverty.
- 18 million people in the world need wheelchairs and don't have them.
- There are 54 million Americans with disabilities.
- 20 percent of the teen population has a disability.
- Only 10 to 15 percent of churches in the United States have a disability ministry or are planning one.