Urban Youth Initiative Mission:
The Urban Youth Initiative (UYI) seeks to equip, empower, and support dedicated youth ministers and the local church/Christian community to effectively reach unchurched urban young people with the hope and love of Jesus Christ, and nurture their development into purposeful adulthood.
The Urban Youth Initiative - History
The Urban Youth Initiative (UYI) was founded in 1993 by Dr. Larry Lloyd, also founder of the Memphis Leadership Foundation, and Howard Eddings, President of the Memphis Leadership Foundation. Their vision was to equip an "army" of dedicated full-time urban youth workers through local inner city churches and Christian non-profit organizations who would reach at-risk urban young people with the hope and love of Jesus Christ. With the assistance of generous private donors from the Christian community in Memphis, church partners, and the cooperation of Crichton College, Memphis City Schools, the Memphis Leadership Foundation, and the Hope Christian Community Foundation, what has resulted is a network of more than 50 affiliate sites with over 100 youth workers reaching out to approximately 10,000 youth on a weekly basis.
UYI is the model for cities throughout the U. S. for creating this unique concentrated effort to train and fund full-time outreach workers who seek to empower teens and pre-teens to become healthy, productive members of society. UYI workers go where kids are, building relationships, serving as volunteers in their schools, providing holistic after-school programming, and engaging them in various summer camping and enrichment activities. Several of the ministries employ a trained educational specialist to help young people succeed academically.
UYI's most recent initiative is Operation Hope, a partnership with Juvenile Court to assign high-risk, repeat juvenile offenders to four veteran youth workers serving as mentors in the Frayser, Whitehaven, Highland Heights, and North Memphis communities. UYI has also formed the Target 1000 collaborative with two of its partners, MARRS (Mediation And Restitution/Reconciliation Services) and JIFF (Juvenile Intervention Faith-based Follow-up) to prevent juvenile crime and reduce recidivism by mentoring 1000 juvenile offenders by the end of 2007.