Archive for the 'Bible Discussion Groups' Category

Perspectives from Bootcamp

Randy Holl, one of our Bible discussion group leaders at Woodward Academy, shared on his blog the perspectives of some of the young men that he works with at Woodward Academy.

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Imagine what it is like for a juvenile in lock-up and then imagine how you can help! Featuring “Real to Me” by Nicole Nordaman and a devotion by Shane Vander Hart our Director of Ministries & Volunteer Developement.

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An Awakening

A 14-year-old girl who has been through our Bible discussion groups gave us permission to share this poem that she wrote.

Dear God,

Today was a new day

ending like the last

full of sad memories

hitting all so fast

when I wake up

I hate the way realty sinks in

The pain, the guilt

And the anger within

and I pray to you

When I don’t even know you’re there

But I need something, n-e thing

Someone to show me they care

I’m so lost, if you are there

I need a little guidance, please

A little faith, just some hope

To set my demons to ease

I’m not asking for a miracle

or a whole new start

Just 4 a candle

in this lingering dark

I need a release

of this evil within

& so I end my prayer

with a brief – AMEN

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Thursday Nights

SOY 006

Every Thursday night we hold Bible discussion groups at the PCYS Detention Center at 7:00pm.  The leaders meet at 6:45pm to pray and then usually stays around afterwards to talk with the kids individually.  Our leaders (from Left to Right): Scott A. Vander Hart (from Adelphi Calvary Baptist Church), Rich Thomson (from Hope Lutheran Church), Sy Chanthavong (from Asian Church of the Open Bible), and Shane Vander Hart (from Valley Church and on SOY’s staff).  Not pictured: Craig Quick (from Adelphi Calvary Baptist Church).  Interested in joining them?  Contact Shane to find out how.

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Go God!

By Shane Vander Hart 

Hey I thought I would share some praises from since last Wednesday.

  • I had the honor of leading a young lady to Christ after our Thursday evening Bible discussion groups at Polk County Youth Services’ Detention Center.
  • Bernie, Mary and I represented SOY at Valley Church’s Cool, Car & Bike Show who had us as the beneficiary of proceeds raised. That was the first time they made that event a fundraiser and we are thankful they chose us. We had our display set up and had a chance to meet some new people.
  • We have a new Bible discussion group leader starting for the Delta Company group at Woodward Academy on Sunday. Pretty soon I’ll be able to hand that group off to Randy Holl who is a member of Perry Bible Church (Perry, IA) to be able to move on to other things (like start new groups).
  • Six young men in that Sunday evening group trusted Christ for the first time as well.
  • Then last night I participated in a birthday party at the Polk County Youth Services’ Youth Shelter with a Bible study group consisting of people from Crossroads Church, Fellowship Bible Church, and Valley Church. It was a great evening, and I know the kids there look forward to it.

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Thanks for Your Service David!

By Shane Vander Hart 

I wanted to take time to express my appreciation for the commitment that David Harris has demonstrated to the kids at Polk County Youth Services.David had been looking for a teaching position and just received an offer to teach up at the State Training School (State Correctional Facility for Boys) in Eldora, IA. His wife, Linda, will be teaching at an elementary school in Marshalltown, IA (which for a useless piece of trivia is where yours truly was born) where they will be moving.

For those of you who do not live in Iowa or are not that familiar with our great state. Eldora is 90 minutes from Des Moines and Marshalltown is 45 minutes away – so even as dedicated as David is 90 minutes after work on Thursday to travel down to Des Moines and then 45 minutes back home so he can continue on as a Bible discussion group leader just wouldn’t work. We praise God for this new chapter in his life, but he will also be sorely missed.

I just looked to see when he started volunteering with us – 9/21/03. Almost four years of service to the kids at Polk County Youth Services. Time sure flies. Thank you David, and we are excited that you will have a chance to serve juvenile offenders in a different and significant way in Eldora.

Immediate Volunteer Needs

  • Bible discussion group leader needed for the Delta Company Bible discussion group at Woodward Academy. This is a weekly commitment of about 1-1/2 hours a week. Woodward Academy is a facility of 178 young men. Delta Company is their boot camp program with a capacity of 24 young men who cycle through the program in 90 days. A lot of the young men we work with at Polk County Youth Services end up being ordered there. Bible discussion group leaders need to be 21, followers of Christ and active in a local church and successfully complete our screening and training.

  • Office Project Help – also need someone willing to help with an approximately 2-hour project placing inserts into Bibles that we recently purchased.

For either opportunity, please contact Shane Vander Hart at (515) 321-5077 or

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