I Have Nobody

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Gareth Unruh, Assistant Director, Juvenile Justice Ministry, Denver Area YFC

When I first met Thomas* he was sitting on the church pew in the facility’s gym on “yellow shirt.” Yellow shirt is a form of discipline. When a youth does not follow the rules of the facility they lose privileges, one of them being able to play basketball at unstructured leisure time. I’d seen him play ball before, he has the humility to pass the ball and use his teammates, and the talent to sink the ball from in the paint and well behind the 3-point line. He's a different kid when he's on the court: confident but not arrogant,  with a strength and passion that I haven’t see in a kid playing basketball on the inside for a long time.

As we talk he is distracted by the game happening on the court. His mother, whom Thomas had been living with, is now in jail for the next seven years. He had moved in with his dad (whom he didn’t know he had until a month ago), but he was tragically killed in an alleged “bad” drug deal.

“I have no one,” he says still watching his peers botch up the game of basketball on the court.

“I don’t know if this means anything to you,” I tell him. “But I care and I know God does too, because he sent me to talk with you today.”

The state staff watching over Thomas jumps in and speaks life into him as well. We talk about hope and a future. We talk about faith and not giving up.

Thomas is heading to foster care soon, but did tell us about a former basketball coach who has taken him under his wing and is in the legal process for custody. They met at church and this coach saw the same thing in Thomas that we, the staff and I, see ... potential!

May we continually see others with the potential God sees in us. Please pray for the kids in every facility that have similar stories, the state staff that care for them, and for the Denver YFC staff and volunteers who pour their lives into every young person!

*Name changed for privacy

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