Jackie’s Story | YFC Stories of Impact

Posted on by SpokaneYFC

Childhood is often thought to be the best part of someone's life. Many people have fond memories of playing with their friends after school or eating dinner with their family. 

However, that is not Jackie's story. Instead, Jackie's childhood is full of memories of being bullied, watching his parents struggle with addiction, and experiencing homelessness

Jackie met with us, his YFC leaders, over Zoom to tell us his story. As we talked with Jackie, one thing became abundantly clear—even in the mess, even when nothing was clear—God was with him. 

Jackie has a larger than life personality with a warm, inviting voice. As Jackie tells his story, he draws us in by his steady countenance and the traumatic, awe-inspiring story that unfolds. "As a young boy," Jackie begins," I had problems with my attitude. I was a troublesome kid. But, I mean, now that I look back, I understand why." 

A big part of Jackie's "why" is his experiences as a child. Jackie endured bullying during most of his elementary and middle school years. As he recalls, "I just got bullied a lot. I used to get called fat [and told that] I was stupid." 

Unfortunately, Jackie's home life did not serve as a respite from school. His parents struggled with an alcohol addiction that often led to intense conflicts. When Jackie was eleven, his parents had a major fight that ended with his mom severely injured and landed his dad in jail for two months. It was also during this time that Jackie's family became homeless. 

They struggled with homelessness for two years until his family of four was finally able to find a studio to live in. As Jackie recalls, "After a couple years, we finally got into a studio house. [It was] a room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. And that is where everything chaotic slowed down."

Shortly after Jackie's family found housing, his cousin told his parents about YFC. Jackie recalls, "I was all down for it." Jackie first attended drop-in, where—pre-COVID—kids would hang out at YFC centers after school to play games, listen to music, and hang with kids, volunteers, and staff. It was at drop-in that Jackie first met one of the YFC volunteers, Zach. 

Jacki and Zach got to know each other quickly. "I got to know Zach a little bit more… a lot more, actually. Because he started driving me home and stuff and started talking to me more."

As Jackie became more comfortable at YFC programs like drop-in and BCM (YFC's men's bible study), he also grew in confidence. This is because, as Jackie puts it, "You are guys who actually care. Who listen, which I think I needed." He goes on to say, "From when we started to now. I have changed so much, so much. I talk to people more. And I think YFC changed my life."

Jackie goes on to explain, "From the beginning of YFC to now—I can see the change that happened... I think my parents can see it too because I was a depressed kid. And after I started YFC, I started cheering up a bit—I wasn't as depressed as I was. 

And I think a lot of my teachers saw that too. After I started YFC, I started to do better in school… I had "F's" in every class because I didn't like to do projects and stuff because I didn't like talking in front of people. Then I hit YFC, and I was like, maybe this isn't so bad. Maybe I should start talking more." 

Jackie closes his thoughts about YFC by adding, "YFC is a thing that needs to happen more often. YFC needs to keep going. I hope it never stops. Because now I want to be a leader, so I can help kids to show them what they could be doing right now with their lives."

As we began to close our time with Jackie, we asked him one final question, "what is something he still wonders or has questions about?" Jackie's answer was beautiful. "I believe God is a thing. I believe God is real. And I hope a lot of other people do too. But I just want to know if He has been there this whole time—protecting me and helping me get through all of this. And when we were homeless for two years, I wonder if He was the one who brought back everything I needed—everything I needed to survive again. Brought back my dad, who was a drunken douché bag. Now, I wonder if He was the one who brought him back to being a father, to being sober. 

Jackie concludes, "I am still not 100% sure on everything, but I think you [Zach] bringing me to church every Sunday, it helped me understand why God is a thing. It made me feel like there was a bigger picture to look at there. There was something there that I couldn't see or understand, but I could feel it, which was weird. It is weird to explain. I could feel that God was there."

We signed off the Zoom meeting all assured of one thing: God was with Jackie. And He is with each one of us, too, even in the mess.

Want to read more articles like this? Click here to read other stories of impact.

Share |