Kayla met Zach on Easter Sunday in April 2015. At the time, he was a resident at Youth-Reach Gulf Coast (YRGC) and on a break spending time with his family.

Kayla didn’t know much about him and certainly didn’t know that he would be her future husband. She later learned that he had been court-ordered to go to YRGC after finding himself in and out of jail.

The men living on-site at YRGC as staff members led Zach to God and this encounter completely transformed Zach’s life. Kayla’s spiritual life was changing, too.

“I grew up going to church, but I didn’t fully understand what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus,” Kayla says. When she and Zach met, she had only recently given her life to Christ. She and Zach started seeing each other, but the circumstances weren’t easy. A month later, Kayla’s mom passed away.

“With Zach being at YRGC, he knew how to help me with my mom. He would text me encouraging words when we were at the hospital, and helped me focus on loving her while she was here,” she remembers.

Kayla notes a simple but impactful memory from the night after her mom’s funeral. It would’ve been easy to turn to a lot of things to cope with the loss, but Zach encouraged Kayla to turn to her Bible.

A few months later, Zach graduated from YRGC and he and Kayla married the following year. Kayla believes that what Zach learned as a part of the YRGC family really prepared him to lead their home. Kayla shares…

“They had a huge hand in showing him how to be a man. They helped him develop a good work ethic and he brought that into our relationship. They also taught him responsibility, discipline, how to be loving and communicative, how to pray as an individual and a family, and how to rely on community.”

Kayla says that post-graduation, the community has continued to be an important component of their relationship’s success. In fact, she encourages friends and families with a loved one at YRGC to “Get to know the families there. They’re gonna’ be there to help you. Support them and show them love. If we’re going through anything, we know we can reach out to David and Summer and can always depend on them. They’re always there for us.”

When it comes to the life-changing work that YRGC does, Kayla is a firm believer in its efficacy. She wants people to know that it affects residents’ lives in every way. “It’s not just behavior modification,” she says, adding, “They’re getting out in the community, helping others, investing in peoples’ lives, and learning life skills.”

She is deeply thankful for how the YRGC family shaped Zach’s character.

“YRGC really molded him into who he is today. We wouldn’t be where we are, happily married with a beautiful son, if it weren’t for the support of this ministry.”

Because of our generous and faithful supporters, troubled and hurting young men like Zach can come to YRGC without any cost. The healing and life transformation of the Christ-centered support we offer multiplies as these young men go on to lead marriages, families and communities.

Learn more about how you can get involved in the life-changing ministry of YRGC by visiting the Get Involved page of our website. Thank you for taking the time to read Kayla’s story!