This course delves into the problem of at risk youth. It examines the characteristics of at risk youth, what makes youth to be at risk, and their risky behaviors. There is a focus on factors that put youth at risk and how spirituality can mitigate those factors. Students learn how to assess youth who are at risk and learn ways of giving spiritual care to them. Major attention is given to family upbringing of youth who are at risk to help students in educating such families.
Many local churches and communities have youth groups. Therefore this course benefits students and youth leaders to become aware of how to spot and help youths who are at risk before they go too far into risky behaviors. Students and youth leaders benefit from many religious and spiritual resources that are available to them as they deal with at risk youth. These resources help students and youth leaders as they help at risk youth in local churches and communities.
Local churches and communities are becoming aware of at risk youth who go on to be unproductive people in society. There have been attempts to help youth through youth camps and youth community activities. This course is important because it helps give knowledge and practical hand-on experience to youth leaders to physically, emotionally and spiritually assess youth who are at risk and offer them help so that they can become useful citizens in society.
This course is based on the biblical truth in Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Guiding youth to grow up to become useful citizens is a biblical mandate. As children and youth are taught biblical principles, the Holy Spirit will help them to grow up to become what God wants them to be. The youth or community leader who leads youth groups must trust the Holy Spirit to use their spiritual caregiving to accomplish what God intended for the youth. By the help of the Holy Spirit, at risk youth can grow up in a way that will be useful not only to God but to humanity and society.
Spiritual caregiving with at risk youth is one of the main tasks of the local church carried out by leaders of the local church. Spiritual caregiving helps to educate the youth to conform to the image of God. So the youth or community leader becomes the mirror bearer for the youth as they go through this transformation.
Training up youth takes place in many contexts of the home, school, local church, and communities. These communities can be places of spiritual caregiving and students have the opportunity to see how their faith can integrate with these contexts as they become spiritual caregivers.
Youths come from several cultures and subcultures. Homes, schools, local churches and communities have their own culture. The student is challenged to examine these cultures as the backdrop of giving spiritual care. This helps to see how the Holy Spirit is working with culture and aids students to see culture as part of God’s plan to train the youth in the way that they should go.
This course is built on students doing some work with youth, especially at risk youth. This helps them to apply what they are learning directly and immediately as they give spiritual care to the youth in general and youths at risk.
The student is required to submit two clinical cases – one on giving spiritual care to a regular youth and the other on a youth that is at risk. This experience aids action, reflection, and action for students as they engage spiritual caregiving with the youth.