Saturday, November 01, 2014

Who We Are

We are a Christian, neighborhood-based, non-profit, youth development organization serving the young people and families of Aliquippa.

  • We are Christian in that we are not simply an organization that does good things, helps our neighborhood, or cares about youth.  Many organizations do these things.  For us, our motivation, empowerment, and guidance for our organization is centered around a person - Jesus Christ.  His teaching, example of compassion toward the marginalized and broken, sinless life, work of salvation, and indwelling Spirit lead us to love our own neighborhood.  His command to "love your neighbor as yourself" leads us to love all people - no matter who they are, what their background may be, or where they come from.  The hope we have in Christ leads us to have hope for our own community and to present that hope to others.
  • We are neighborhood-based in that we are literally neighbors to the people we serve in our community.  Our staff lives here.  We listen to the needs here.  We know the people here.  And we seek to empower others here.  We call Aliquippa home, and we are proud to call the people who live here neighbors and friends.
  • We are non-profit because we are a registered 501(c)3 organization with the Internal Revenue Service.  We are a public charity governed by an independent Board of Governors.
  • We are a youth development organization because we seek the holistic development and empowerment of youth in our community - spiritually, socially, emotionally, physically, and educationally.  By fostering tangible hope, youth are empowered to reach their full potential as they mature into healthy, productive adults.  We also utilize the philosophy of the Christian Community Development Association - an organization that seeks the holistic development of under-resourced communities.   

Our Mission

Our mission is to foster tangible hope to youth in toxic environments by building relational bridges and developmental assets.

  • We foster tangible hope for youth because, for us, hope is as real as the love of Christ.  Long term, compassionate presence in the lives of the young people of our community means that youth can eventually see, feel, and experience hope for their own futures.  When we listen to, encourage, or provide opportunities for Aliquippa youth, we are imparting hope that is relationally present in the life of that young person.  Every time we show up in the life of a young person in one of our neighborhoods, we protest the lies of unjust marginalization - that their lives don't matter, that they don't have a future, and that they won't succeed.  Those lies are eventually replaced with the truth of hope - that their life is incredibly valuable to God, that He has a hope and a future for them, and that they can achieve and make a difference in the world.
  • We reach youth in toxic environments who face too many unfair risk factors that impede healthy development.  While many of our youth do have factors in their environments that are healthy and should be embraced and celebrated, too many young people in our community face environments that are statistically more violent, lacking in opportunity, filled with high-risk behaviors, and lead to poverty, addiction, incarceration, or early death.  We reach out to youth in our community who, among their peers in Aliquippa, experience the most of these kinds of risk factors - who face environments that could be described as having too much toxicity for healthy development and not enough of the factors that lead to flourishing in life - healthy relationships, educational achievement, and rich opportunities.
  • We build relational bridges because at Aliquippa Impact, relationships are always primary and programs are always secondary.  Relationships are the soil that God uses to grow hope in our community, so our programs are only good insofar as they provide the safe emotional, physical, and psychological space to grow healthy relationships.  Our staff and volunteers build healthy, caring, safe relationships with youth.  Our staff and volunteers also build bridges to life opportunities for youth.  Youth can then walk across these bridges with the support of staff and volunteers toward their healthy future.  
  • We build developmental assets in the lives of young people because we believe every young person, no matter who they are, needs certain positive relationships and experiences to grow and develop.  The Search Institute's 40 Developmental assets provides a framework through which all of our youth programs operate - intentionally providing relationships and opportunities that are proven to empower youth toward their hope-filled future. 

Our Vision

Our vision is that Aliquippa would be a city filled with young people whose needs are met - spiritually, socially, physically, emotionally, and educationally.

  • We dream of a day when Aliquippa is a city filled with young people whose needs are met.  For all of the good in our community and all that is worth celebrating, it is still a reality that our city has too many young people with unmet needs.  On many levels, some of our youth have been "left behind and left out" in relation to larger society.  We dream of a day when that is no longer the case.
  • By building relational bridges to opportunity, we see the spiritual, social, physical, emotional, and educational needs of young people met.  Our vision is for the holistic development of students - in every aspect of their lives. 

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