The Backyard Boyz is multi-day after-school program for boys in grades 6 through 8 living just north of downtown Des Moines in the vicinity of Trinity United Methodist Church. The ministry empowers young men to explore the possibilities for growth and change within them, among them, and around them (in their own “backyard”).
During these coldest days of the year, for example, the Backyard Boyz are giving back to persons in the community who are living without the basics. For Martin Luther King Day, the middle school Boyz will serve homeless persons by packaging and distributing personal care packages, including such items as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, deodorant, Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, lotion, combs, razors, shaving cream, water bottles, socks, hats, and gloves.
Young people who have aged out of the program and gone on to high school sometimes return as mentors. Not only does this encourage and inspire the next generation of Backyard Boyz. It also allows these older students to continue to work on their own self-development and leadership skills.
The Backyard Boyz represent only one component of a larger ministry, the Children and Family Urban Movement. CFUM’s mission “is to create a community that supports the potential of children, youth, and families through educational success, healthy living, and community engagement.” Matthew 25 funds from the Central District, made possible with apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches all over Iowa, have helped to support CFUM.