MARSHALL - They are just starting their new program, but they have already expanded it. Formerly known as Marshall Middle School Ministries, it is now called Southwest Minnesota Middle School Ministries to reach out to not only Marshall youth, but youth from Balaton, Cottonwood and other communities as well.
The outreach group wants to be a supplement to other Christian youth groups and to reach kids who are of other faiths or do not belong to any church.
"We will have Christ in the background if that's what they want," said one of the organizers, Al Holland of Marshall.
Photos by Karin Elton
Marshall Middle School students Jessica Holland, Desiree Esquivel, Maikayla Campion and Amira Hasch gesture to musician Peder Eide’s song Wednesday afternoon at a Christian youth concert.
Holland said the pre-teen and teen years are a "difficult age" and this new program is another resource for kids.
"There are kids who are smiling on the outside, but deep down inside are hurting," said Holland.
The program will take place once a month on early out Wednesdays, said organizer Jennifer Timm of rural Marshall.
"We'll have a scheduled fun event at the Alternative or an area church for kids to be involved in good activities," Timm said.
"Kids who have nothing to do get involved in drugs, get in trouble," Holland said.
Southwest Minnesota Middle School Ministries is a community endeavor, Holland said. Radiant Life Church and Living Word are two churches that are involved in the ministry. Youth from Southwest Minnesota State University will be available to help out as well, said SMSU student Robert Morris, who participates in the Shine On service at the Campus Religious Center.
"I would be available for someone to talk to," he said.
Holland said there will be peers for kids to talk to because "sometimes it can be difficult to talk to an adult."
For more information or to donate: write to Southwest Minnesota Middle School Ministries, 2843 230th Ave., Marshall, MN 56258.