Helping Youth In Juvenile Detention

Helping Youth In Juvenile Detention


A Message from Ken Turner, Founder of High Impact Teens

I lead a youth outreach called High Impact Teens and we are involved in several juvenile centers here in Tennessee. I’ve worked closely with Misty Neeley, the State Executive Director of the Office of Juvenile Justice, to keep our network of ministry partners informed of the needs of our youth across the state. We are currently working with volunteers at Mountain View YDC in Dandridge, Stones River Academy in Nashville and Wilder YDC in Memphis.

I wanted to reach out to introduce myself to you and let you know we are available to help as needs arise. We have a few ways we are currently trying to help our youth in juvenile facilities.

1. We have approximately 1,000 Christmas cards with envelopes available if youth who are detained would like to send a card to a loved one this Christmas. I’d be glad to mail a supply to the facilities who need them.

2. We have Bibles and devotional books available for teens who would like to have them. Some of our devotional materials are written by teens who were in detention and found ways to put into words powerful messages to youth who are struggling today.

3. We are building a network of churches and ministries across the state to help recruit more volunteers to serve in our juvenile centers and donate to specific needs that arise throughout the year.

If any of these things could be helpful to you or a facility you are associated with, please feel free to email me and I’ll be glad to help by sending these materials or collaborating with you to get more volunteer support.

Ken Turner

*Learn more about how to impact high-risk and fatherless youth at

423-381-0018 phone
423-402-8995 fax
Office Address: Ken Turner Ministries: High Impact Teens, 289 Main Street, Dayton, TN 37321
Mailing address: Ken Turner Ministries, PO Box 1325, Dayton, TN 37321


Our goal is to touch the lives of 1,000 youth in December by providing Christmas cards for youth to send a loved one, a Bible, a teen devotional book, and a small Christmas package! Through our outreach ministry to youth in juvenile centers across Tennessee, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, we are giving them the hope of the gospel. Because of your prayers and gifts, we can reach into these places where 85-90% of youth are fatherless.

Churches and individuals have joined together as a team of donors and prayer partners… Join us and give a gift today to provide hope to high-risk and fatherless youth.

I’ve Been On My Own Since I Was 12

I’ve Been On My Own Since I Was 12

on_my_ownYesterday, I was with a group of six high school boys in one of our outreach programs in a juvenile facility. Two of the six boys made this statement, “I’ve been on my own since I was twelve.”

They went on to explain they weren’t homeless since age twelve but they were “on their own” in the sense that their parents had essentially “checked out” on them by the time they were twelve. In some cases, fathers leave and never return and moms fall into crime or are battling addictions at such a deep level they can’t function well enough to be a parent.

There are no easy answers, but I’d like to hear from others who have overcome difficult circumstances like this. What advice would you give a teenager who said, “I’ve been taking care of myself since age twelve.”

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10 Powerful Statements From 10 Fatherless Youth (This Will Make You Thirsty for God)

10 Powerful Statements From 10 Fatherless Youth (This Will Make You Thirsty for God)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

After living in Indiana for 21 years we moved to the mountains of Tennessee in 2010. Our family enjoyed so many things about Indiana. The people we served in the two churches where I was a youth pastor became like family. Our farm house in the country was surrounded by corn fields and flat… really flat land. But it had it’s own sense of natural beauty.

When we moved to Tennessee I constantly found myself admiring the mountains. I grew up in the foothills of South Carolina but it had been a long time since spending much time around mountains. I remember so many times during our first year here I would comment to my wife and kids about how beautiful the scenery is here. I would often say, “I bet the people who have lived here all their life don’t even notice these mountains. They are probably just so used to it.”

Don’t you think that’s one of life’s great pitfalls? It’s especially true of our relationship with God. Do you remember a time when you hungered and thirsted for God more than you do now?

That’s one thing that is so rewarding about the ministry we have with youth in juvenile detention centers. Many of them are fatherless and so many have never really known much about God or the Bible. But God often uses this time in their life to speak to them and show Himself real in their life.

Group Of Teenagers Hanging Out Together Outside

Sometimes the words I hear from these youth bring conviction to me. It causes me to ask, “Do I still hunger and thirst for God? Do I still notice His hand at work in my life… or have I gotten used to it?”

Here are 10 powerful statements from 10 different youth I have met. I hope this inspires you to be thirsty for God today.

  1. My dad died at 15, I’m 13 and I don’t want to die on the street like my dad. (13 year old boy)
  2. I’m locked up, I’m 12 and I have two kids. Is my life over? (12 year old girl)
  3. I gave my life to Jesus. Now I am reading the Bible and praying everyday. Please don’t bring me any other books, I just want to read the Bible. (13 year old boy)
  4. Will you pray with me? I want God to change me. I want to know Jesus personally. (15 year old boy)
  5. My dad died on the street two years ago and I have no one. How do I know God’s plan? (13 year old boy)
  6. I’m glad I got locked up. This is like the whale in Jonah’s life. If I had not landed in the belly of this place, my path would not have changed. I’m ready to follow God’s path, I have given my life to God. (15 year old boy)
  7. I have no one. I don’t even know where my dad is and my mom lost custody of me when I was 2. (15 year old boy)
  8. Will you pray with me? Will you talk to me? Can I see you when I am released? Will you teach me to study the Bible?
  9. I came to the Bible study tonight hoping there would be food. I got something more fulfilling than food. I learned about God and His word. (17 year old boy)
  10. Before I got into trouble, I told everyone I was an atheist. But I now realize there really is a God and I’ve decided to believe in Him and trust Him as my Savior.

Question: When you find yourself becoming spiritually complacent, what have you found that reignites your passion for God?