The Young Family

With all the access points available today, it seems there are so many influences on our families.  In fact, the term “influencer” is now a common term in our vernacular.  Some of the influences can be good, but many of these simply are not.  It also seems there is no safe place from the bombardment of unwanted influences that come into our homes.  All of these influences can make things really hard on our kids.  Sometimes hard for them to know what is right and good and healthy, while also making things often confusing for them.  In this world we live in with all of these influences and distractions, it can be hard for our kids to discern what they are to do with themselves and with their lives, and to find their purpose.  This is J.D. and Stacey Young and we have struggled just like everyone else with regard to the bombardment of influences on ourselves and our kids.  But this is our story of how we purposely brought an influence into our children’s worlds that has brought clarity, purpose and meaning to their lives and to ours.  That influence is Touch A Life Foundation (TAL) (touchalifekids.org), who has rescued over 100 children out of forced labor and has continued to love and care for them at their Care Center in Ghana, West Africa.  TAL has also helped other organizations build Art Therapy Centers, like their own in Ghana, in other locations around the world.

Now, our family would like to tell you how TAL has significantly influenced us and how you can invite your family to bring this positive influence into your lives and also the lives of your children.

as told by our son Logan

(currently 21) 10 Days installing interior designs into the Art Center in Ghana in 2013

Heading to a new place with my family has always been an exciting event for me. Being able to visit the Touch a Life kids and work on their Art Therapy Center in Africa was one of the most incredible experiences I had, and it helped shape an idea in my head I did not know was there until 3 years after. I went with my family to help build and decorate the interior space of their art center and this helped solidify my desire to be in the construction profession.  While this project and working with the former Extreme Home Makeover design team was incredible, there were other impactful experiences that I look back on with fondness. Any time I think about my trip, I think about the soccer field where I tried to play soccer barefoot just like the rest of the kids. I think about playing Benjamin in ping pong and not being able to last two returns. Waiting in the dinner line with kids around you talking and playing while you smell the spiced chicken and drink your water bag because plastic bottles were not a thing. Giving the little kids hugs because you knew even though they were 3 or 5 or 7, they have been through more than you could imagine. Playing around with the kids your age and older talking about what they want to do after their time at Touch a Life. These are the memories I hold on to most importantly, and it is these memories that have given me a purposeful future.

as told by our son Clay

(currently 25) – Four Months Teaching the Newcomers at the Care Center in Ghana in 2016

In the spring of 2016, I had the wonderful opportunity to intern with the Touch-A-Life foundation at their Care Center Ghana. I had been to the care center a few years before to help furnish the Art Therapy Center, but this second opportunity would be far more significant for me. I had just finished my third semester of college and had reached a point where I felt directionless, wondering what to do with my life. I heard about an opportunity to intern with Touch A Life as a tutor for the students and jumped at the opportunity to postpone confronting such an important life decision.

When I arrived, the man running their school surprised me by asking what I would be teaching. Those of you who have experience teaching understand far better than I did at the time how daunting of a task it is to teach English Language Learners with less than a year of experience using English, but I was willing to give it my best shot. Over the next four months, I spent everyday teaching math and science to a small group of students using whatever resources and strategies I could come up with. I was often frustrated, feeling like I was in over my head, but as time went on, I became more comfortable and eventually came to realize that I wanted to teach when I returned home as well and changed my major to education. I don’t know if I would be on the path I am today without this organization, and will be forever grateful to them for the opportunity they gave me and the influence they had on my life and my career choice and the purpose I now have.

as told by our daughter Madison

(currently age 23) building and installing interior designs into the Art Therapy Centers in Cambodia in 2016

The Touch A Life Foundation has profoundly impacted my life. Working with the organization gave me the opportunity to experience other cultures and interact with people who live vastly different lifestyles than my own. I visited Cambodia in 2016 to complete two Art Therapy Centers in Battambang and Siem Reap, where I participated in design, construction, painting, and was able to visit local markets to look for materials. While at the center, I spent time with the incredible young women from Rapha House (an organization for whom the TAL team built the Art Centers) and listened to their stories about overcoming insurmountable obstacles with the help of Touch A Life, Rapha House, and their faith. Witnessing the growth that these young people achieved through creative art therapy is what inspired me to pursue a degree in psychology and eventually to become a licensed therapist. I am currently enrolled to intern in a mental health counseling program and am close to achieving my goal! I never would have considered this as a career path if it weren’t for my experiences with Touch A Life in Ghana and then later in Cambodia, and I’m blessed to have been a part of their commitment to helping children and young adults overcome trauma and build healthy, fulfilling lives. Not only do they provide education and housing, but they also foster independence by engaging the kids in creative projects and sustainable living practices. Taking part in missions with Touch A Life is one of my proudest accomplishments and I know that they will continue to live out the message of the Gospel as they move forward.

as told by Stacey

On my first trip with Touch A Life in Ghana in 2011, I felt the heart of the Father in a way I never had before when I looked into the eyes of child after child whose whole existence was in being used as a slave for labor.  I better understood the fierceness of God’s love and protective nature for us, His children, and the lengths to which He will go to pursue and bring us out of darkness and hopelessness into freedom and Life.  My heart BROKE as I saw the despair and hardness and death in those precious children’s eyes as they labored endlessly under a master who misused them, and then OVERFLOWED with pure joy as I watched the transformation on their faces, to beaming smiles and laughter on their lips when they understood that they had been rescued!

From death to Life; From mourning to dancing; From silence to singing.  

This is what we were ALL meant for!  We were meant to run, and sing, and laugh, and dance, and love, and be loved, in freedom and childlike innocence.  The enemy works so hard to hurt us, and to steal those things from us, and sometimes, in some seasons, he does.  But Jesus, our Beautiful Rescuer, is relentless in His pursuit of us, and He will have the final victory in our lives.  This I know is True.  I have seen it in my travels with Touch a Life and the beautiful children they care for, and I have seen it in my own life as well.

So what are we asking?

We are simply inviting your family to join ours in supporting this incredible organization.  As “Ambassadors” of Touch A Life’s “Hindsight is 20/20” Campaign, we are simply asking you to consider partnering with us at a monthly contribution level of your choosing.  While every organization like this benefits from financial support, our family is also encouraging you to expose this foundation to your kids and, who knows, they may be profoundly influenced like ours were.  Blessings… and thank you for allowing us to share the influences this great organization has had on our family.

Touch A Life