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Chris Fane's Student Ministry News

A youth ministry blog consisting of a collection of articles and notes related to
student / youth ministry. Gathered by Chris Fane of egadideas.com

Why do you teach here? 'Love,' says one


Some snippets from an article I read... make sure you read the whole thing... (- Chris)

Among the 23 teachers at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center are a former disc jockey and a former high school football star.

Gina Clark's drive to the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center begins with her two sons. She hugs them tightly, aware of the bumps in the road ahead for young black men, saddened by those left stranded at dead ends.

''When I look at those boys [in the center], I think about my sons, and I treat them as if they were my children,'' says Clark. The former disc jockey, like many of the center's 23 teachers, found herself compelled to help ``save the babies.''

Clark, 36, who was recently named the school's Teacher of the Year, has emerged as a favorite among students. With a personality driven by vibrant energy and patience, she motivates each student by bolstering their self-esteem. Under her watch, an English class for 12 boys becomes a forum for self-expression. She asks them to draft a poem based on an experience that shaped their lives.

''These kids just need a listening ear. . . Writing allows them to express the pain they're holding inside,'' said Clark.
Carlos Barrow, a youth minister at a Miami church, is now in his sixth year at the Juvenile Detention Center, the 39-year-old Barrow has become a father figure to the youths behind bars, often offering the tough love that Nujey showed him.

In the classroom, he tries to personalize every lesson. A recent lecture on nomadic tribes from Africa, for example, was taught in terms his students can understand.

''Many of you are nomads -- you've been in foster care and traveled from an uncle's house to an aunt's house,'' said Barrow.


Barrow and Clark say they understand the importance of not judging their students, especially since most of the youths already feel they're beyond redemption.

''They ask me all the time why I come here, why I choose to spend time with them,'' sighed Clark.

Her answer: ``love.''

It's the emotion most needed, but often most absent, in their young loves, the two teachers say.

Said Barrow: ``In America, we recycle plastic cups and soda cans . . . but throw away kids.''

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8:56 p.m.

It's all about the love, baby!    

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