GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan Christian youth group is reaching out to teens who are deaf, working to create a community where they can make connections with others.
Youth For Christ West Michigan‘s Deaf Teen Quest serves teens who are deaf and hard of hearing. It aims to provide support and resources to an underserved group.
“This is one of the most isolated groups of teenagers that you could ever find, “Dan Kregel, the group’s executive director of YFC West Michigan, said. “Imagine, 80% to 90% of them grow up in hearing homes. And of those, 80% of them or more have nobody else in their family that knows sign language.”
He said Deaf Teen Quest, which has been around for about five years in West Michigan, works to combat the loneliness that can cause, relying on volunteers who know American Sign Language.
“When we provide a place that has leaders who know their language, can speak sign language with them, it’s a beautiful thing,” Kregel said.
Deaf Teen Quest meets weekly at a local church for dinner and games. You can support the program by volunteering, providing meals or with a monetary donation. You can learn more online.
YFC West Michigan also has ministries in juvenile detention facilities, urban neighborhoods, schools and for teen parents. Kregel said the ministry is seeing “tremendous” growth, particularly in mentorship programs.