InnerCHANGE's San Dimas team was born in 1992 in response to the tragic gang-related shootings of two young Latinos near St. Peter's Church in the Mission District of San Francisco, and a simultaneous plea for spiritual support for Latinos from the city's juvenile detention center. 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 we continue to walk alongside the volunteer group (Comunidad San Dimas) as they take steps towards becoming their own locally-grown, non-profit organization. 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.
Our Ministry Focus
There are several programs in San Francisco designed to reach young gang members, but only one that 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.
In general 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 we're not here. We are committed to supporting and empowering them in any way we can. We're 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!
Interested? Click here to apply!
Team Description: The San Dimas team seeks to come into relationship with gang members and at-risk youth in our neighborhood and behind bars at Juvenile Hall. We take to heart God’s call to love the prisoner, the immigrant, and the alien. We invite youth into Christian community and offer them the opportunity to find true identity and freedom in Christ.
Applications due: 15 June, 2013
Cost: $2000 Monthly
An apprenticeship with the San Dimas team means committing to a ministry of tough love to gangbangers, addicts, dealers, juvenile delinquents, and teenage mothers. Apprentices will spend a lot of time visiting youth in Juvenile Hall, playing pool in the garage of our home, & just hanging out over a meal. They will need to be ready to jump in on whatever spontaneous activity comes up in the moment!
God really works in mysterious ways, what the enemy intends for evil God always turns into good for those who love Him! Myself and kids I love get to be the living proof of this reality.
There was no one else home at Casa San Dimas when three young men showed up at the door, the day after I’d returned from my end-of-3-years discernment period. I was on a spiritual high from the worldwide conference, and from the decision I’d made to recommit to InnerCHANGE and Comunidad San Dimas for the next season.