Over seven years ago, I sat down across from my youth leader in her cramped, chilly office
and handed her a letter full of things I was too afraid to say. I spilled my life story to her in
that letter, all my doubts about God and faith and life. That meeting was the first of many
conversations in that little office in the Youth Unlimited Central Alberta headquarters. As a
teenager, Youth Unlimited played a huge part in growing not only my personal faith, but also
in stirring up a passion in me to go on to be that person for other teenagers in the future.
Just a few months after starting this job, I found myself sitting on the other side of the table,
as I shared pizza with a youth as she shared her life story with me.
An outspoken, bold, and normally boisterous girl, Sara grew quiet as she shared with me about the struggles she faces in her current foster home. In that moment, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for how far God has brought me to be able to encourage this teen in her own journey through life.
Looking back to my high school years, I never pictured myself in full time ministry. In grade eleven, however, God put it on my heart to go into youth ministry. While I’ll admit I laughed the idea off at first, the calling was persistent, and I followed God’s leading to Briercrest to study psychology and youth ministry. Over the past number of years, I have been on a difficult journey mentally and physically, but it has not been without an abundance of growth and gratitude. These past years have truly shaped and refined my faith and my heart to help youth who are hurting.
I have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to work alongside youth at Youth
Unlimited Edmonton, a branch of the same organization that played such a big part in my
own teen years. Youth Unlimited has a vision and a mission to see the hope and potential
in every young person, a mission that I get to be a part of as part of the YUE team.
I work primarily in the drop-in centers out organization runs, mainly working out of The Vault and The Cellar, our two North Edmonton centers. Together, the centers serve over 150 youth in the city, providing them with food, community, and relationship/mentorship.
The majority of the youth who attend our drop-in centers are vulnerable youth, coming from low-income families, many are newcomers to Canada, and many of them come from broken homes with difficult pasts. Many of them have heartbreaking stories, but a phrase I hear over and over about our programs is “I feel safe here”. In the almost two years I have been with YUE, I have had so many difficult conversations with youth - from homeless teens, to supporting youth through family breakdown and illness, to forming connections with teens who are lonely and isolated, we have many teens come through our doors hurting. Seeing these kids come to our programs, be served a hot meal, and be able to put down the heavy burdens they carry, even for a short while, and smile, laugh, and just be kids is something I am immensely passionate about and grateful for. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had to get creative - zoom gatherings, front porch food drop offs, and a few distanced small group outdoor events. Thankfully, we are now back in our youth centers (with a few adjustments) and seeing the kids smiles in person, even through a mask, has been amazing.
I believe that God has called me to Youth Unlimited and I am so excited to continue working with the youth in this ministry. I would be honored if you would commit to partnering with me in prayer for this ministry and these youth. God is at work in this place, and there is so much power in our communal prayers for the ministry and the community.
I would also like to ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with me financially. Your partnership will help me be able to work fulltime building meaningful connections and
mentoring relationships with these teenagers. I want to be a vessel of God’s love for these
teens, with the ultimate goal of helping them discover the same joy and peace that my own
relationship with Christ has brought me. The model of funding in Youth Unlimited is partner
based, which means my salary is fully funded through partnerships. My goal is to raise
$1700/month so that I can work up to 40 hours a week in this ministry. By partnering with
me, you are investing in the future of these youth, and the expansion of the program to
reach even more at-risk teens.
I’m looking forward to seeing where God leads me in this organization, and how he uses
me to reach vulnerable teenagers at this crucial point in their lives. Your partnership
through prayer or finances is incredibly valuable to me and I am grateful to you for
considering this opportunity! I would love to share more information with you over the
phone or buy you a coffee and tell you more about the work I’ve seen God doing in young
lives so far!
Partner with Shaina Roesler, and give a gift HERE. Be sure to select that you want your donation to go to "Youth Programming by Shaina Roesler".