YouthReach International establishes local mentoring communities which equip orphans and at-risk youth for success in life through spiritual development, positive role models, and practical life skills.
As orphans in the former Soviet Union reach age 16, they are forced to leave the orphanage, sent to live in dormitories with little or no supervision and learn a menial trade, or worse, left to make it on their own in the streets. Many of these young people turn to drugs, prostitution, and other crime to deaden the hopelessness and provide for basic needs. Beyond this, many become teenage parents unable to care for their own children, thus continuing the cycle of more orphans. Note the fate of children within 3 years of leaving the orphanage at age 16:
60% are unemployed and homeless
30% become parents abandon their children as they were abandoned
60% are incarcerated at least once and 40% long term
41% become addicted to drugs and alcohol
10% are dead by suicide
While children in these orphanages may have interaction with multiple adults in administration and caretaker roles, these relationships are mostly authoritative. There is a lack of positive adult relationships within the orphanage system that the state cannot provide. This results in children growing up without direction, without someone to mentor and guide them through difficult times and critical decisions. We believe the best source for those much needed relationships is the local church.