Pentecost Offering Sets At-Risk Youth on the Road to Success

Everywhere he looked, the Rev. Allen Shelton saw tremendous gaps — gaps keeping high school-aged young people of color from succeeding in life.

Rev. Shelton, a veteran educator, community advocate and pastor in New Jersey, was determined not to watch promising youth fall through the cracks of an increasingly broken educational system. He wanted to ensure the future success of primarily urban, adolescent young people, so in 2010 he founded Good Success Academies.

Good Success Academies has become a tremendously successful program, outgrowing the church and expanding beyond its original goal of serving Montclair-area youth. In the 12 years since its founding, the once-local initiative — in partnership with Montclair State University and Rutgers University — now impacts youth in surrounding communities, readying them for college, work and the world.

Tariq Mayo, for one, is grateful for his Good Success experience.

“I got into Good Success because our high school principal was handing out flyers,” he recalled. “It helped me to get a job. Previously I didn’t know what to wear or what to say at an interview. Good Success helped me figure it out, including what type of suits to wear.”

Tariq also credits Good Success with helping him to write the application essays that earned him acceptance into Montclair State University, where he is now studying computer science.

Helping youth achieve their God-given potential is what the Pentecost Offering — one of the PC(USA)’s four Special Offerings — is all about. Not only do gifts to the Pentecost Offering benefit at-risk children and youth through the “Educate a Child, Transform the World” national initiative, but the Offering also encourages, develops and supports the church’s young people through the Young Adult Volunteer program and the Presbyterian Youth Triennium.

Forty percent of the Pentecost Offering is retained by individual congregations just like ours for local ministries that support young people, while the remaining 60% is used to support children at risk, youth and young adults through ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Here at (CHURCH) we use our portion of the Offering to (PLEASE DESCRIBE).

“If someone wanted to know why they should give to the Pentecost Offering,” says Tariq, “I would explain that programs like Good Success Academies allow young people to get a better understanding of how to get a job and how to be a leader.”

Your gift, your generosity makes a difference — for as we always say, when we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.


Let us pray~

Gracious God, we pray that all children will be able to reach the potential you gave them. We are grateful for those who work alongside children at risk and give them hope. Give all of us the faith and courage to stand up for children and help build a brighter future for them. Amen.

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