Stories of Impact

Here’s why this work matters.

Winfield, KS
Rebeca Dominguez

One of the main changes I noticed after The Summit was that I was more confident about my future and about my identity. I didn’t have everything in my life figured out, but I had the confidence that God would be helping me and guiding me. I also saw myself as a beloved daughter of God, which made me feel more confident about myself and less worried about what other people thought about me. In a way, I felt free, which I hadn’t felt in a long time. 

St. Peter, MN
Eric Johnson

Beyond a love for learning, the Academy taught me how to think critically about issues within my faith, knowing that wherever reason took me, I would have a family that supported me. It is because of this that I am now a philosophy major at Gustavus; learning to think for myself about big issues has led to such fulfillment that I hope to always pursue it.

Santa Barbara, CA
Kristi Phillips

Trailhead helped expand my understanding in a lot of areas. The program deepened my appreciation for art, created in me an awareness of the kind of social issues facing America, challenged my perspective on human suffering and enriched my understanding of hope. It helped me realize how much I still have to learn about the world, but in a way that made me feel excited rather than overwhelmed by all that I didn't know.

Winfield, KS
Aaron Doell

I can undeniably say that I am not only better equipped for my future, but also more confident in it. I have a better relationship with God now than I ever have before in my life, and I am thrilled for not only the next steps in my faith life, but in my life's journey as a whole.

Atlanta, GA
Reverend Elizabeth Pollard

As a youth pastor, I have never encountered a Christian education curriculum like it. The program encourages students to love themselves fully and deeply. Its impact is invaluable.

Waco, TX
Jaelyn Maladdie

I learned to make my sports ministry and my Christian ministry one, and to make myself one with this ministry. This helped me once I came to college. I came to play football, but realized after a few weeks that playing football was not something I really wanted to do. I leaned hard on my training from camp and what I learned about love and hope, which helped me make my decision to end my football career and focus on my Christian ministry - and to feel good about that decision.

St. Peter, MN
Abbie Doran

It was the first time I felt comfortable asking deep questions about my faith and was not afraid of being a bad Christian because of my doubts and curiosity about the uncomfortable parts of my spirituality. 

San Antonio, TX
Emmanuel Garcia

I knew this would be a chance for me to express my faith with other high school students, as well as continue to grow spiritually. 

Kirkland, WA
Hannah Castano

Going into the program, I was really struggling with what exactly God had in store for me. I was entering my senior year of high school and had no clue what I felt like I was supposed to do next. I was unsure of the part I played in God’s story and how he would use me and my life for something good. It was as if I was always asking myself, “What’s next?” and could never find the answer. I was fortunate to have found that answer after a few days of attending the program.  

Atlanta, GA
Alex Revelle

Attending YTI was single-handedly the most transformative event of my entire life and still impacts me to this day. It was so unexpected but so needed for me at that critical age and time-frame where I was ending my high school career and beginning my college career and entering young adulthood.

Waco, TX
Taylen Wallis

I enjoyed every minute of Faith and Sport Institute. It pushed me farther than I ever thought that I could be pushed. I grew so much in my faith and pursuit of Jesus. It felt like such a privilege and a blessing to be invited to such a spectacular and top-notch program.

St. Peter, MN
Alex Theship-Rosales

The Academy is rooted in the idea of vocation and how every person has various callings, and these callings are supported and affirmed by pursuits of justice and scientific learning. Bringing these ideas to youth inspires them and leaves a lasting impression. My experience in this environment was one of deep learning, rejuvenation and hope.

Waco, TX
Elizabeth Perkins

I witnessed students become more vulnerable with others in small group time, gain confidence while interacting in larger groups and during retreat activities, demonstrate leadership in the ways they served one another during team activities, grow bold in their uninhibited worship, practice faith in their learnings about who God is and show passion in their realization that they have many God-given talents.

Tuskegee, AL
Kendarius Ivey

My participation in the program allowed me to become closer with many of my peers and exposed me to opportunities I would have otherwise never experienced. The Bridge Builders helped me through my grief and extinguished my growing cynicism and self-doubt.

Nashville, TN
Trey Phillips

The program opened my eyes to the fact that you don’t have to be a preacher to be involved with ministry. That’s not the only role there is. You’re actively participating in ministry just by being a child of God and telling other people about that. 

St. Meinrad, IN
Cole Hepp

My experience as an intern for OBOC has greatly shaped my career and ministry engagement. Never look at yourself or your past and say you should not lead a program like this. God calls us to a renewed sense of holiness and we all can inspire others by being the truest versions of ourselves.

Tuskegee, AL
JaMyia McNeil

I am a totally different person than I was when I first started the program. I have grown tremendously! I am stronger mentally and emotionally. Although I am still growing, I know who I want to be. I am confident and able to express myself willingly.

Santa Barbara, CA
Riley Johnson

Trailhead was moving because it was the first time my thinking was called to a higher level in our discussions. They encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones and were not satisfied with, “I don’t know.” We were engaged and our thoughts were vocalized and heard. Those were the moments when I felt my eyes open and my perspectives change.

Atlanta, GA
Frank Stanley

The way I look at life has completely changed. I’m much more intentional in my thinking and interactions with the people around me.

St. Meinrad, IN
Mary Quirk

Before One Bread One Cup, I believed in God. I never doubted his existence, righteousness and power. After One Bread One Cup, I loved God. I wanted to live my life in service to him and feel his love envelope me.

St. Peter, MN
Rachel Larson

This program helps students feel empowered to ask questions, see multiple viewpoints and dig deeper into answers without fear of doubt invalidating their understanding of the world. It shows an evolving faith that reacts to the world in practice. It shows different people living their vocations in a variety of ways while joining together through a commonality.