Statement of PurposeThe activities for youth in grades seven though twelve are designed to encourage an inquiry into Christian identity, an openness to deal with diversity, sharpening of academic and intellectual skills, and to help youth explore their feelings and concerns about significant social issues.
We believe God is the creative loving force that made the universe and all things, and that Jesus Christ is Lord. We believe the Bible is the progressive revelation of God's plan for the world and its people. We believe that youth are equal partners in the community of faith, and that the Holy Spirit can and does work through them as well as adults. We believe it is our responsibility to engage in ministry with and for youth, and to benefit from their ministry to us. We believe that we are called to an individual and collective quality of life that leads to personal, spiritual, and social transformation, witnessing to God's saving purposes for all creation.
We are led by the spirit of God for the purpose of encouraging Christian maturity, and we are committed to the development of youth. We pledge ourselves to the fostering of a truly welcoming environment that is reflected in the diversity of our participants, liturgy, educational foci, and our fellowship. We seek to build a faith community that works for justice, lives in God's mercy, and strives for continual spiritual awakening. We believe God calls us to joy, to fun, to artistic expression, to recreation and to an ever-present yearning for the beauty that is found in loving relationship with other human beings.
Our ProgramsOur programs for the youth provide a safe space for them to share and grow. Through the various programs offered and scheduled retreats, young people are led to explore issues of faith, discover their own gifts, and embrace the importance of volunteer service to their communities and the world.
Sunday Morning Programs
Our Sunday morning ministries are welcoming and inclusive and reflect the diversity of a community that is interracial, inter-denominational, and international. The components of our programs include faith sharing, learning, and celebrating together in small groups, worship, Scripture study, reflection, social action, and service- with Jesus always as our model.
Youth Church School (Sundays, 9:15am – 10:30am) fellowship, discussion groups and activities offer youth an opportunity to study the Bible and have lively conversation with a diverse and loving teaching faculty. In separate discussion groups, youth in Junior High and Senior High tackle difficult issues as they build community, share sacred Scriptures and discuss the challenges of being a young disciple in the city. Seasons of the Spirit serves as the guiding curriculum for our work and study.
Confirmation (Sundays, 9:30am – 10:30am) is designed for 7th and 8th grade youth who are preparing for full membership in The Riverside Church, but all youth are welcome. Youth explore topics of Faith, Denominational History (American Baptist/UCC), History of Christianity and The Riverside Church, God, Jesus, Spirit, Community, Social Justice and Worship. In partnership with mentors who are seasoned members of the church, youth will engage in bible classes, activities, trips and retreats as they begin their lifelong journey of faith and spiritual formation.
Voices of Vision is Riverside's new youth choir which introduces and develops vocal technique, ear training, and basic music reading, and provides an opportunity to minister through song in our worship services. Youth learn hymns and other songs from a variety of cultures and Christian traditions, and thus cultivate an appreciation for diversity.
Friday Night ProgramsOur Friday night ministries, similar to your Sunday morning program, are welcoming and inclusive and reflect the diversity of our local community. Our programs provide a safe space for youth to share and socialize. Through winter and spring retreats, mission experiences, God Talk, leadership and personal development seminars youth are led to explore contemporary issues of faith, discover their own gifts, and become empowered to embrace the complexities of our world.
Riverside Youth Entrepreneurial Development/RYED (Fridays, 5:00pm – 6:00pm) is a six month, community based program for youth ages 12-18. Students meet on a weekly basis. They are introduced to the basic concepts of entrepreneurship, encouraged to unwrap their gifts and talents for entrepreneurship, and given an opportunity to participate in a selling event. The fifty hour curriculum, delivered by a NFTE certified trainer, integrates BizTech (the computer based textbook), internet based research, reading, writing, guest speakers and group discussions. At the completion of the RYED program, each student has the opportunity to present a computer based business plan that they have developed as a result of their participation in the program.
Friday Night LIVE (Fridays, 6:00pm – 8:00pm), For youth grades 7 - 12 spiritual and cultural strategies that empower youth to think more critically, develop a positive self-image, strong Christian identity, responsibility, self-esteem, achievement and leadership abilities. In 2007-08 youth will be lead in workshops on God Talk, Health Awareness, Academic Skills, Finances, Sex and Sexuality, Goal Setting and Conflict Resolution.
Friday Night Youth Fellowship (Fridays, 8:00pm - 10:00pm) is created for youth in grades 7 to 12. Each Friday night young people have the option of participating in recreational activities, including table top games, board games, air hockey, video games, basketball, volleyball, double-dutch, kickball, badminton.
Scholarship and Academic Advisement Young people who need information about scholarships, college applications, essay writing for the application, meeting deadlines, and getting a head start in their college search process need to attend our workshops. Academic, college, and scholarship advisement is open to all youth in grades 7 to 12, and age- appropriate college prep & SAT workshops are offered in the fall and spring of each academic year.
Millennial Scholarship Program offers numerous youth involved in the ministries of The Riverside Church scholarships to accredited colleges, universities and vocational programs in denominations of fifteen, five, and two thousand dollars increments. These scholarships can be dispersed out over the course of one-four academic years. Since its inception more than $350,000 has been dispersed to youth involved in our ministries.
Career Day is an all-day annual event is structured to motivate and inform middle and high school students throughout the metropolitan area about various career opportunities. Through meaningful exchanges with our panelists in interactive workshops, youth learn about their professional options, what they should be doing to prepare themselves today. Special guests help to entertain and encourage young attendees to stay positive and focused on their goals.
Other Programs and OpportunitiesMission Experiences are transformational religious experiences, they inform of whose we are and who we are called to serve. Mission experiences open our eyes, change our lives and dramatically increase our faith in God and belief in the power of community.
Volunteer Opportunities. Wonderful volunteer opportunities are available for caring adults in our many of our programs. Please contact the Office of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at 212-870-6828 or email James Singletary for more information.