YFC staff and Calabria Market staff load up a vehicle to take fresh meals to families throughout the city.

YFC still brings hope in midst of pandemic

 Winnipeg, MB – April 20, 2020

Winnipeg teens and their families were in for a special treat Monday thanks to YFC Winnipeg and some generous donors.

Calabria Market on Scurfield Boulevard and Little Caesar’s Pizza on Henderson Highway teamed up with YFC Winnipeg to bless a number of families with a fresh, hot meal on Monday.

The ministry has had to find creative ways to stay connected to young people during a time of isolation. “Our youth can’t currently come to our facilities to participate in our usual activities like skateboarding or soccer, or for our support or skills programs like Work Force or New Hope for Teen Parents,” Amber Anderson Skrabek, Senior Director of Community & Partner Relations with YFC Winnipeg says.

“Our staff, however, are still connecting with the kids. Whether it’s online chats, games, or studies, or the delivery of groceries, baby supplies, or fresh hot meals, we still want to give our kids and their families a little love and hope during these difficult times.”

Skrabek says that the ministry is thankful for the generosity of people and organizations who continue to partner with the ministry during difficult times. “We thank the generous folks at Calabria Market and Little Caesar’s for sharing our love for these families in our community.”

Together they were able to feed over 40 families.



Youth for Christ continuing to provide for children in Winnipeg

Winnipeg, MB – April 2, 2020

Youth For Christ (YFC) may not have their King Street doors open to the public, but they are expanding their welcome mat as they deliver goods and provide resources for kids at home.

Amber Skrabek from YFC says staff members are learning new ways to connect and support others during the pandemic from their young members. She says that YFC works hard to get kids to connect in person, but the change in ways Manitobans can communicate means YFC staff are learning from kids how to connect in new ways online.

“I think the challenge of ours is staying connected in a time of isolation,” Skrabek says.

YFC workers have been connecting to kids using a variety of social media platforms, but have also found a need for an old-fashioned telephone call.

Skrabek says that young people are asking questions about Jesus that they might not have before the outbreak.

“The conversations that we are able to have with the kids right now are far more intentional and far more Jesus focussed because kids want to know where God is in all of this,” Skrabek says.

YFC may not be able to provide classes in their building, they have moved towards hosting online dance classes, are checking up onkids, and providing critical supplies to those in need.

“We just want to be there for them,” Skrabek says. “We are still here and still willing to do that.”

YFC has been delivering supplies, including much-desired toilet paper, to people in need. YFC had been doing small services such as this before for their guests, but are doing it even more now that there is a strong need in the community.

Skrabek is noticing that due to the pandemic, YFC appears to be connecting closely to the root of their work.

“I think what we have learned very quickly that the ministry is not about the programs… I think God is reminding us that it is really about the relationships,” Skrabek says.

Because of the pandemic, YFC had to postpone its CHVN radiothon and other spring fundraising activities. Skrabek says that she believes “the Lord will provide” but is asking for prayers as they continue their ministry




Cliff Heide, new Executive Director of YFC Winnipeg, effective January 1, 2020

Announcement of New Executive Director

Winnipeg, MB, Release: December 19, 2019.

Youth for Christ Winnipeg today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Cliff Heide as Executive Director and ex-officio member of the Board of Directors effective January 1, 2020.

“On behalf of the YFC Winnipeg Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Cliff Heide has been called to the position of Executive Director of YFC Winnipeg,” says YFC Winnipeg Board Chair, Russ Friesen. “Cliff has been ministering in YFC Winnipeg for over 18 years, most recently as Senior Ministry Director. The Board is confident that under Cliff’s leadership YFC Winnipeg will continue grow in its ability to reach youth in Manitoba.”

Heide began his journey with YFC while attending Providence College.
He began volunteering at The Edge (a YFC skateboard program) and there got excited about youth ministry. “At the time my studies focused on business and organizational leadership,” says Heide. “But my time at The Edge really shifted my outlook on what youth ministry was, and I felt God pulling me in that direction.” Heide joined the staff at The Edge in 2001, and a few years later he assumed the Program Director role at The Edge. In 2015 Heide answered God’s call once again to become a Senior Ministry Director, supervising several YFC program directors.

“I am honoured to be given this opportunity to serve as Executive Director,” says Heide.

The Board and YFC Winnipeg staff would also like to extend its gratitude and recognition of John Courtney as he steps down as Executive Director effective December 31, 2019, after 47 years of service. Under John’s leadership and ministry YFC Winnipeg has reached tens of thousands with the gospel and built an organization that ministers to youth on a much larger scale than we could have imagined. John leaves behind a legacy at YFC that will continue to impact the lives of Youth for years to come.

Founded in 1954, YFC Winnipeg is one of the largest YFC chapters in North America with over 70 missionary staff and 400+ volunteers working with over 11,000 youth last year. The mission to “see the hope and potential in every young person” has helped form a diverse array of youth programming (Ball Hockey, Soccer, Rig Fitness Centre, Turning Point Counselling Centre, New Hope for Teen Parents, the Edge Skatepark, Work Force, King St. Drop-in, the Rock Climbing Gym, Masterworks Dance Studio, Camp Cedarwood, and satellite locations in Arborg, Carman, Gimli, Niverville, Selkirk, Stonewall, and St. Pierre-Jolys.)



(l-r) Amber Skrabek, Judy Richichi, MLA Andrew Micklefield, John Courtney, Therese Gerhard

Executive Director Honoured

November 22, 2019 – A Manitoba MLA rose in the Legislative Assembly this week to recognize one of Winnipeg’s most iconic workers in youth ministry.

Rossmere MLA Andrew Micklefield read a Private Member’s Statement in the Assembly this week to honour Youth For Christ Winnipeg’s Executive Director John Courtney.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize Youth For Christ Executive Director John Courtney, who after 47 years of serving Winnipeg’s youth, will be retiring on December 31,” Mickelfield begins.

Courtney joined YFC Winnipeg in 1973 and became its Executive Director in 1977.

“Under John’s leadership, Youth For Christ has grown from four staff serving 400 people a year in one location to now 82 staff serving 11,000 young people in 11 Manitoba communities,” Mickelfield says.
Part of Courtney’s legacy includes YFC’s Centre for Youth Excellence at the corner of Main Street and Higgins Avenue. Despite many awards and recognition nationally for his work, Mickelfield says Courtney’s most notable trait is his humility.

“John is an ordinary guy with a huge heart for helping youth and a 47-year-long track record of doing it well. Over the past 47 years, John has impacted tens of thousands of young people and the ripple effect of his service is simply remarkable. John, you’ve served well. Thank you. As you step back please don’t stop altogether. Your heart and experience are needed as new leaders serve young people facing previously unimagined challenges.”


YFC Banquet 2019

Over 1,000 were in attendance for our annual Fall Fundraising Banquet on October 22, 2019 at the RBC Convention Centre.

The event featured a performance from YFC’s Masterworks Dance Studio, live and video testimonies from youth, and our keynote speaker, Rev. Will Graham (grandson of the late Billy Graham).

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