For many teenagers, the high school years pose the problem of finding one’s own niche. Not all are suited to be athletes, musicians or part of the many specialized groups within high school. But for all students, there is a group called Young Life.

Young Life is an interdenominational Christian ministry for high school students that has been in existence for more than 70 years. The organization is focused on the acceptance of all young people to share in experiences, events and camaraderie with other young people. 

Weekly meetings provide the opportunity for members to share their experiences with others with some needing support from the group. They get the chance to learn about opportunities that are available through Young Life, such as trips and camps.

On Friday, Nov. 7 at the Riverside Township Hall, Young Life will be holding an event not only to raise funds for the organization but for adults and teens alike to learn more about the organization.

The format will be appetizers at 7 p.m. followed by conversation and a presentation at 8 p.m. Having attended these events before, I think it is heart-warming to see young people — whether they be athletes or members of other school groups — working together serving food and later telling what Young Life means to them. It is inspiring to witness.

An important part of the success of Young Life is the involvement of adults, who are present to help whether it be a car wash, the golf outing, July 4 activities, or fundraising. The local Young Life leader is Jonathon Gorney, who has brought an abundance of enthusiasm to the area.

Junior high students can join Wildlife, which is under the direction of Molly Hamilton, a former teacher. Wildlife provides many of the same opportunities as Young Life, with meetings and events. 

Wildlife is planning their fundraiser, a Chili Cook-off, on Nov. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Hollywood Community House in Brookfield. If you have the best chili recipe in town, this is your chance.

One of the many important aspects of Young Life is for young people to work together and get to know each other in a setting different from school.

For information about Young Life, 82 Woodside Road in Riverside, call 708-638-5577. To learn about Wildlife or the Chili Cook-off, contact Director Molly Hamilton at molly@ylchicago.com.