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2 min read

31 Years and Counting: Helping At-risk Youth

After 31 years of volunteering for UGM at Juvenile Detention, Jerry McGlade still has a heart for helping at-risk youth. He also has a passion for sharing the gospel and spreading the love of Jesus with those who may never have experienced love. Here's what Jerry has to say about life, at-risk youth, and volunteering.

What do you do for a living?

Currently I am an Apple and Peach grower, and have been since 1972. I also taught Horticulture at Spokane Community College for 13 years. 

During that time, I owned and, along with my Wife, operated McGlade’s Treemendous Fruit and Cider. Prior to our fruit business, I was an owner of Mutual Funds Co. Inc in the early 1960’s. Before that I was a life insurance salesman and partner in 13 local apartment houses. And before the apartment business, I was a launch officer on an Atlas ICBM site in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

How did you get involved in UGM’s ministry at Juvenile Detention?

I was recruited while a UGM board member by Milt Rood (also a UGM Board Member) to help with the Juvie ministry for a month while other volunteers were on vacation. The month has turned into 31 years and counting.

What needs do you see among the youth at Juvenile Hall, and how are you and others addressing those needs? 

They need fathers that love and live with their mothers, and they need the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The only part of this we can address is to teach them about Jesus and His salvation and about the sanctity of marriage. The Mission is also working on providing more services, including live-in services (when homelessness is the only alternative), and counseling. This, if developed, can and should be a huge benefit for our at-risk youth.

What do you want people to know about the kids at Juvenile Detention?

That the kids are just kids who need love, guidance, parents, and the Lord.

Jerry McGlade

What would people be surprised to know about this outreach? 

Maybe that ordinary people are the ones doing the ministry. We have had plumbers, carpenters, basketball coaches, executives, car salesmen, farmers, businessmen, retired people, housewives, Bible school students, and people just like you.

How have you changed / grown since volunteering for this ministry?

Well, I am now 31 years older than I was when I started. I have never once wanted to quit that I can remember, although I have needed a little time off a few times. I have been forced to accept that, but for the grace of God, it could be me or one of my children locked up in there. I am more convinced than I ever have been, that the only hope for these kids, and the only hope for this world is Jesus Christ. I have ministered to kids from your church, my church, and almost any church you could imagine, in Juvie, and they all need Jesus. They all need someone to love them. They all need a compass, and we believe that compass is the Bible. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except by me.” That about sums it up. He made it so that anyone could understand it, so we need to keep it simple. 

What key word would you use to describe the ministry at Juvenile Hall?

“Opportunity.”  We have been blessed by our Savior to be able to minister to “the least, the last, and the lost,” as former Mission Director John Peterson used to say.

Any last thoughts?

I especially want to thank my Lord Jesus Christ, for saving my soul, and for giving me an opportunity to teach others about Him. Also, I want to thank the UGM for their support of the ministry. 

UGM loves matching people's passions with the need. Use your time and talents by volunteering!

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