During my junior year of high school I came across Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries, affectionately known as CYFM. CYFM is dedicated to bringing youth closer to God and to get in touch with their religion through a variety of different retreats and service programs. So on a leap of faith, I decided to encounter a four day retreat all by myself, not knowing anyone or anything about this place.
Taking that leap of faith was the best decision I made in my life. Not only did I stop at that one retreat, I ended up attending dozens of CYFM's retreats and even attending one of their mission trips to Kentucky. Becoming a part of the CYFM family was the most valuable thing that has ever happened to me and all I can say is, thank you.
Thank you, CYFM for letting me call you home.
At a time in high school where I never thought I would fit in or ever find my niche, I found you. You became my safe spot and a place I knew I would always be welcomed to with open arms. Between the endless amount of snacks available all the time, the chapel where I knew I could go anytime, the squeaky beds and the abundance of candy, you were my home.
Thank you, CYFM for bringing me closer to God.
During an age in my life where having faith and believing in God may seem "lame," or "old-fashion," you showed me that God's love is forever unending and never goes out of style. You showed me that there is nothing greater in life than building a relationship with God.
Thank you, CYFM for helping me become confident.
Without you, I could still be the awkward and uncomfortable 16-year-old who thought she couldn't ever fit in. But because of you, I began to open up and began to feel comfortable with myself. I became friendlier, more outgoing and all around a happier person. It is because of you that I am the outgoing and energetic person I am today who no longer fears others opinions of myself.
Thank you, CYFM for letting me express myself.
Whether it was through singing, which I learned i'm not great at, drawing (which i'm also not good at), or reflection groups, I learned to express myself in so many different ways. I've learned to open up to people because of you and I can convey myself through different means to many different people.
Thank you, CYFM for showing me what love is.
I was showed that love isn't always shown in the conventional way of telling someone. CYFM you showed me that telling someone you loved them could be as simple as a hug, smile or just even telling someone that you'll pray for them. I was shown what it means to love God, love others and to love yourself. But most importantly I was shown what agape is, the highest form of love, selfless love.
Thank you, CYFM for my extended family.
Without you, I would have never met some of the most people in the world. It is because of you I met people that I now call my family. These people have seen me at my best and my worst, yet I know they will always be there for me. I know I can reach out to any of them in a time of crisis and they will walk with me every step of the way. Or even if I reach out to them in a time of happiness, I know that they will be my own personal cheerleader. You have given me an abundance of brothers and sisters, from all different walks of life. Meeting all of these different people opened my eyes that life isn't always the same for everyone, but God is great to everyone. I don't know if I could ever quite put into words how much my CYFM family means to me. Regardless of where ever I am in life, I know that they are near in my heart and they will stay there forever.
And just remember, God is good all the time and all the time, God is good.