Over the years, the San Dimas team has seen ministry evolve from a small group of dedicated jail-outreach volunteers to a current army of over 40 community volunteers from all walks of life and a wide variety of church denominations. For a season those volunteers and the InnerCHANGE team collaborated to run a transitional home for young men, called Casa San Dimas. Today they continue to walk alongside the volunteer group (Comunidad San Dimas) as they take steps towards becoming their own locally-grown, non-profit organization. Today the team calls themselves "Misión de Paz", or the Peace Mission.
We have a heart to minister to our volunteers and local leaders as well as the young men and women we meet both in and out of jail who are caught up in drugs and street gangs.
There are several programs in San Francisco designed to reach young gang members, but only one emphasizes a relationship with Christ (and we refer to ourselves as a family, not just another program). Here in the Mission District we are in the midst of contested gang turf between Sureños and Norteños, the two main Latino gangs in the city. Reaching out to gang members, for us, begins with building non-judging, compassionate relationships that can grow into trusting friendships. Instead of re-inventing outreach programs we seek to be a 'home base' for youth, networking and connecting them with existing resources while providing them with the family support that so many of them lack.
Generally more reserved and guarded than their male counterparts, the plight of young women with gang affiliations can be easily ignored. Yet because of the trust the San Dimas team and their volunteers have built with gang members over the years, the girls are coming out of the shadows and becoming an integral part of our lives. We seek to support them through their struggles with education, unplanned pregnancies, and abuse, empowering them to discover their own voices, talents, and identities in Christ.
The volunteers of Comunidad San Dimas are the heartbeat of our ministry, the pulse that will keep going even if our team were not here. We are committed to supporting and empowering them in any way we can. We are always on the lookout for leadership potential, whether it's a volunteer who has an untapped pastoral gift or a former resident of Casa San Dimas who feels a pull towards mission work. We love that Christ has created such a diverse Body for himself and continues to use the "foolish" things of this world to prophecy to the wise.
San Francisco, California
To develop an incarnational presence among the poor in San Francisco, California