Youth Ministry Fundraising vs Stewardship

In the past the youth ministry has held multiple fundraisers to pay for the majority of the teens retreat, normally about $300 per teen. This past year went with a “no fundraising” rule. Teens are asked to pay the entire amount, however no active teen gets turned away due to lack of money.  So how do we do this?
If a family has a financial hardship  they let us know they need help and the parish will work something out. This has lead to our parishioners having an opportunity to practice good stewardship.  They now give because they wish for the teens to experience a life-changing event, rather then because they are going to receive something.
It has changed the teens outlook on fundraising as well.  Rather then having a fundraising to benefit them they have turned out of themselves to our community. The major youth fundraiser this year, The Adult Prom, is to raise funds for Bishop Grady Villas.  Bishop Grady Villas mission is to support people with disabilities by providing job skills, a place to live, and a place to learn. The teens have set up visits to the Villas to meet the residents, have attending their annual Ball, and have enthusiastically been planning the Prom to assist the ministry at Bishop Grady Villas.
In the end, the amount of time and work that is dedicated towards generating funds to defray the cost for all the teens could be better used towards service to our community and the Church. We have learned that having the focus of the Adult Prom going from “I am doing this to defray the cost of my retreat,” to “I am doing this to help others,” changes the spirituality of fundraising from a selfish one to one of self-giving and love, not only for the teens but the adults of our parish. Allowing the teens to learn how to do something for others without expecting anything in return.

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