Unite the Valley aims to do exactly what its title implies.
The collaborative faith-based effort brings together youth group members of eight churches throughout the area into one large support group for high school and middle school students.
“I started Unite the Valley in the summer of 2014,” said founder and director Youth Pastor at Three Crosses United Methodist Church Jason Snyder. “I started it because I saw two needs in our community.”
His group seeks to proactively reach area students, in order to get them involved in their faith and church community.
“I wanted to show those who do go to church somewhere that we can be kingdom minded rather than individually minded,” he said. “Simply stated we are a group of local churches that have united together to make Jesus number one in the Valley.”
Director of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s Youth group, Ashley DeFrancisco stated that Unite the Valley has a membership of 100 area students and conducts a variety of activities throughout the year to keep students engaged.
Currently, Unite the Valley members come from: Three Crosses UMC, River of Life, North Bend Church of the Brethren, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Clear Fork Alliance Church, New Life Church, CitiChurch and Impact Worship Center.
“Our purpose is to reach teens in middle and high school right where they’re at, on their turf at school” said Snyder. “It doesn’t matter what church they go to or if they don’t go to church at all, we want them to experience and show them the love of Jesus Christ. Kids can come and hang out with their friends, meet new people, eat food, listen to music, have tons of fun, pray and hear energized messages from many youth pastors in the Valley.”
“This year we will be helping with ‘See You At The Pole’,” said DeFrancisco. “It will be held Sept. 23 at 7 a.m. at the high school and middle school flagpoles.”
“This is a student-initiated and student-led prayer, scripture reading and worship before school starts,” said Snyder of the event.
Snyder also wants to continue Unite the Valley’s activities throughout the school year hoping to host a Christian Music concert and hold several YMCA nights during the winter.
For more information about the organization visit their Facebook page or contact Three Crosses UMC at (419) 883-3121.