The Department of Juvenile Justice Faith Initiative has been serving 60 to 100 hours monthly for the past five years. Rev. John Ferro founded the Faith Initiative by first recruiting “faith volunteers.”
Rev. Ferro went to various churches in the Daytona area to publicize this ministry. Each volunteer is required to have background screenings with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Many youth that are in the Department of Juvenile Justice have never attended church. Rev. Ferro enables them to find their spirituality and talk to someone about faith. He is the contact person for all the churches and responsible for continuing to publicize the mission and purpose of the Faith Initiative.
Members of various churches visit various facilities such as the Stewart-Marchman Center, the Juvenile Detention Center, and the Volusia House. The volunteers visit each center at least weekly. Some of the volunteers choose to go several times a week to council teenagers on a one-on-one basis. In addition, church groups hold services every Saturday evening for any of the youth who want to attend as well as Bible lessons and individual counseling. The Faith Initiative is responsible for this as well as providing special times for the youth during the holidays. For the past five years, the Faith Initiative has sponsored pizza parties for the youth during Christmas and provided gifts for approximately 100 of the clients. They also held a service at the Volusia House and the Detention Center in addition to the party.
The Faith Initiative has given the youth more than a “program.” They get to talk to someone who cares about them and is concerned about their welfare. This group gives the young people an opportunity to find a higher power, which results in them feeling better about themselves and being better people.
Rev. Ferro and the other members of the Faith Initiative work to bring faith, spirituality, and hope to youth who chose to participate in their activities. He has been inspired by many people, but he daily works to “ do more with his Faith Community,” as President Bush suggested in one of his speeches. Rev. Ferro is the founder and organizer; however, he can also be seen spending quality time with the youth himself. He visits with them and counsels them and is always on call if a special need arises. Rev. Ferro and the Faith Initiative volunteers spend hours of time in prayer as preparation for their mission of serving the youth. They then dedicate many hours of the week to give of themselves to hundreds of youth who feel they have no one else.