Kym Klass
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April 3, 2024

As a former Young Life student, Kenyatte Hassell can attest to the profound impact the organization had on his spiritual development – providing him with a supportive community, caring mentors, and opportunities for growth that helped him become a better person.


It is an organization he has been involved in for over 30 years – as a student, a leader, and currently, as the Montgomery Urban Director.

“Overall, Young Life’s mission is to introduce young people to Jesus Christ and help them develop a lifelong faith that will guide them through the challenges and opportunities of adolescence and beyond,” he said.

Young Life has a rich history in Montgomery, with its establishment in the community dating back to 1970.

For over five decades, Young Life has been actively involved in the lives of young people, providing them with a supportive and nurturing environment to explore their faith and build meaningful relationships, Hassell explains.

“The organization’s impact on the community has been profound, and with the ongoing support of dedicated volunteers, donors, and community members, Young Life will continue to make a difference in the lives of Montgomery’s youth for many years to come,” he said.

Today, the organization serves in Carver High School, Brew Tech High School, JAG High School, and Percy Julian High School. They meet twice a month at McIntyre Community Center or other locations throughout the city. They also attend a camp called Windy Gap, a Young Life Camp in North Carolina.

Young Life helps students grow in their faith, Hassell said, adding it seeks to provide a safe and welcoming environment for young people to explore and deepen their relationship with God.

Operating through a network of local chapters – typically led by adult volunteers who have a heart for mentoring and supporting young people – volunteers, known as Young Life leaders, build relationships with teenagers in their communities through activities such as club meetings, small group discussions, and social events.

The organization’s purpose, Hassell said, is to reach out to young people who may not have a church background or who may be seeking a deeper spiritual connection.

“Young Life leaders strive to create a nonjudgmental and inclusive space where teenagers can feel accepted and supported, regardless of their beliefs or background,” Hassell said.

The global ministry impact of Young Life shows that over 2.3 million students were “known by name” in the 2022-23 ministry year, according to the Young Life Annual Report – which stated that together, “we can know eight million adolescents by name in the year 2030.”

Through Montgomery’s programs and events, “Young Life aims to provide teenagers with opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, and community service,” Hassell said. “The organization also offers camps and retreats where young people can disconnect from their daily lives and focus on their relationship with God.”

Young Life accomplishes its mission several ways: praying for young people; going where kids are and building personal relationships with them; working in community alongside like-minded adults; and through providing fun, adventurous, life-changing and skill-building experiences.

“Young Life is important to the community because it provides a positive and supportive environment for young people to explore their faith and build meaningful relationships,” Hassell said. “The organization offers a sense of belonging and community for teenagers who may be feeling lost or disconnected, and it gives them a space to grow and learn alongside their peers.

Young Life works with both school-aged and college students, offering programs and activities tailored to each age group, Hassell said.

The organization typically has separate chapters for middle school, high school, and college students, with trained leaders who understand the unique challenges and needs of each age group.

“For school-aged students, Young Life provides a safe and fun place to gather, socialize, and explore their faith,” Hassell said. “Leaders build relationships with young people through school visits, club meetings, and other activities, creating a supportive community that extends beyond the school walls.

“For college students, Young Life offers opportunities for spiritual growth, leadership development, and community service. College chapters may host Bible studies, social events, and service projects to help students deepen their faith and connect with like-minded peers.”

Overall, Hassell said Young Life plays a vital role in the community by providing young people with a supportive and caring network of mentors, friends, and resources to help them navigate the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood. The organization’s focus on faith, friendship, and personal growth, he said, makes it a valuable asset to communities looking to support and empower their youth.

“God’s purpose for human beings is to love Him and love our neighbors,” he said. “Through my experience with Young Life, I have found a meaningful way to fulfill this purpose.

“Through Young Life, I have learned the importance of loving God and loving others, and I am grateful for the role this organization has played in shaping my faith and character. Young Life has been instrumental in helping me fulfill God’s purpose for my life, and I am proud to be a part of such a transformative and impactful organization and I want the same for the teens today.”

A Bible verse that encapsulates the mission and purpose of Young Life is found in Matthew 28:19-20, where Jesus instructs his disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

“This verse highlights the importance of reaching out to others, sharing the message of Jesus, and helping them grow in their faith,” Hassell said.

“Young Life’s focus on building relationships, mentoring young people, and guiding them on their spiritual journey aligns with the directive given by Jesus to make disciples and teach them to follow His teachings. Just as Jesus promised to be with his disciples always, Young Life seeks to walk alongside young people as they navigate the ups and downs of life and grow in their relationship with God.”

To volunteer: Email Hassell at or call (334) 799-7849.
To donate: — a donor must include the ‘area number’ AL-19
More information: http

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Kym Klass
Kym Klass has lived in the River Region since 2007. She is the Director of Communications at Frazer Church. She is the author of "One More Day: a powerful true story of suicide, loss and a woman's newfound faith." She serves on the board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Alabama), the Samaritan Counseling Center, and the Alabama Coalition Against Rape.

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