Christmas 2017 Update

We are joyfully celebrating 10 years of Building Our Future, One Teen at a Time at 18 South Youth Center in 2017! Since the doors to our facility at 18 S. Pine St. in Red Lion opened on Nov. 17, 2007, more than 1,200 young people have crossed our threshold and encountered the love and friendship of our staff and volunteers.

As we reflect upon our accomplishments from the past decade, we also are mourning the tragic loss of one of our teens.

On Sept. 13, 2013, Zachary Tillman stepped through the doors of 18 South Youth Center for the very first time. During the next four years, this energetic, goofy 14-year-old boy would become an integral part of our 18 South family.

As he began to form meaningful relationships with the staff and volunteers at 18 South, he allowed us to help him work through some of the darker moments of his life. When asked what 18 South meant to him, he wouldn’t hesitate to proclaim that he considered the adults at the youth center to be like the older siblings he never had. You may remember his words that were included in our 2016 letter:

“To me, 18 South is like an extended family. I’ve been in and out of foster care all my life. Being at the youth center and spending time with the staff there are the only times I haven’t felt that burden. The adults there actually listen to me and give me advice on how to manage my anger and get through tough times.”

We loved Zach. Though most wouldn’t have known it, he carried serious emotional baggage. And, despite the meaningful connections he had with our 18 South family, on Oct. 17, 2017, Zach committed suicide. The days since then have been some of the hardest we have ever faced.

According to Suicide Prevention of York, suicides in York County have increased by 23 percent so far this year. While 18 South has always been on the front lines of suicide prevention among the youth of Red Lion, we feel even more committed to that effort now than ever before.

Amidst the heartbreak of losing Zach, God has connected us with some incredible people and resources that have helped us begin to grieve and process this tremendous loss. These new partnerships and resources will better equip our volunteers to continue their efforts.

We have accomplished so much, and God has brought us so far. In 2017, we have seen an average of 70 teens each week; we took 22 youth on our 7th annual winter retreat; we took 14 youth to our 6th annual summer retreat; and we fed more than 330 free meals to hungry teens during the 2016-17 school year as part of our afterschool programming.

There are amazing opportunities upon us, and we feel more determined than ever to reach out into the darkness of our community to meet those who are lost with the hope-giving truth and love of Jesus. One teen at a time is how we build relationships. More and more teens need the relationships we offer. As such, we are in the beginning stages of a relocation project for our youth center, which would give us a much-needed increase in space and the physical resources needed to better serve hurting young people in Red Lion.

To continue maximizing our impact on the hearts of the youth of our community, we need your help. We are asking you to become a Partner of Hope by committing to a monthly donation of $25 or more. Your contribution will help ensure 18 South will be able to continue opening its doors every week.

In Christ’s Love,
Jessica Cauller
Executive Director of 18 South Youth Ministries

Max Halterman
Director of 18 South Youth Center

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Contact Us

18 South Youth Ministries
P.O. Box 472
Red Lion, PA 17356

18 South Youth Ministries

18 South Youth Ministries strives to create opportunities for caring, responsible adults with Christian values to build authentic relationships with youth. The nonprofit operates 18 South Youth Center in Red Lion, Pa., which has reached more than 1,000 teens since it opened in November 2007.