How Big is Cloud and Fire?
In 2010 we served over 500 youth. How did we do it?
When Cloud and Fire began in 1999, we had a core group of 15 youth. The same kids stayed with us throughout their middle school and high school years, and we invested into their lives through our Friday after school club, field trips, and camping. As a result, many of them came to faith in Christ, and all of them had an understanding of how to do that. When they graduated high school, we wondered if our work was done. That was in 2004, and it became a turning point for Cloud and Fire.
Last year Cloud and Fire Ministries helped 509 young people. If you’ve ever visited us, you might wonder how that is possible, because our facility is very small. We certainly don’t have 500 youth every day in our youth center (though some day, we hope we will!)! So how do we do it?
About 40 neighborhood kids hang out with us every day after school (that’s all we have room for right now). Another 30 or so older attend our YouthBuild Charter School and construction training program. Those two programs represent the kids we see every day. Some people think those are the only youth Cloud and Fire helps. But that’s just the beginning. Workshops like our LA Youth at Work draw another 100 youth each year who want to learn to apply for jobs. They usually just come for a few visits and then are gone when the workshops are completed. So where are all the other youth?
Cloud and Fire’s True Freedom program helps over 200 incarcerated youth each year learn to cope with anger, frustration, and aggression. This powerful program is nearly invisible, because we aren’t able to share photos or even stories of these youth. But it is this work that has helped us understand gang mentality and understand the horrible lifestyle that is the cause of so much violence among urban youth today.
I still haven’t mentioned a few of our programs. Which ones?