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And the winner is ...

With thousands voting, Hope Award goes to youth-oriented ministry

Jubilee Leadership Academy Sophia Lee

And the winner is ...
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Jubilee Leadership Academy of Prescott, Wash., is the winner of WORLD’s 2014 Hope Award for Effective Compassion. More than 12,000 readers and ministry supporters voted in a record turnout. At the Nov. 20 awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., Jubilee’s executive director Rick Griffin accepted a check for $25,000. Like the name “Jubilee,” said Griffin, his group’s mission is to serve from a level playing field: “Young men who really come from deplorable situations get a chance to start again ... and hopefully stop that cycle of violence and cycle of poverty and have an opportunity to be great and productive citizens.”

Others in the final five—Seeds of Hope (East Region), Maury United Ministries (South), Friends Ministry (Midwest), and Compassion International’s Central American programs (International)—received checks for $4,000. Runners-up in each region received $1,000.

Jubilee is the third youth-oriented ministry to win first place during the Hope Award’s nine years: The others were Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches in 2007 and Freedom for Youth (Des Moines) in 2010. For more about Jubilee Leadership Academy (JLA) and the other winners, go to wng.org/compassion.

Over the years two national winners have emphasized help to troubled women; two, job training; one, prison ministry; and one, legal aid. Our goal throughout has been to honor those who devote their lives to helping the needy without getting much praise or money in return. We also hope that others will see good work and try to do likewise in their own communities.

I’m still struck by what Randy Nichols, founder and director for 17 years of this year’s South winner, Maury United Ministries, told me: “ I’m not a great speaker and I’m not charismatic, so I looked for something I could do. I started praying.” He thought about carless folks who needed to get to work, school, or doctors’ appointments. He recruited folks to give rides one day a month, and maybe talk about Jesus as well.

In 2008 Tim and Becky O’Mara of last year’s South winner, Beltline Bikes, moved to South Atlanta with the desire to be good neighbors but no plan to “do ministry.” One day they saw a little girl whose bike had flat, worn-out tires. They offered to help if the girl would do some chores. She did, they came through, and word spread. Kids have now earned 388 bikes, made 4,183 repairs, picked up 930 bags of trash—and sometimes changed their thinking about work and much besides.

If you want to start a rides ministry or a bike repair ministry, ask Randy Nichols or the O’Maras. If you know of an evangelical group in your community that offers challenging, personal, and spiritual help to the poor, please nominate it for the 2015 Hope Award by sending a note with a brief description to June McGraw ([email protected]).


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