J.A.M. is a non-denominational faith-based organization that came into existence to address the experience and development of youth during some of the most perilous times of our decade: the deterioration of family and societal values, loss of young lives, opportunities missed, and wasted potential. J.A.M. exists to complement existing youth ministries, programs and services throughout the Western PA region, irrespective of religious denomination or church affiliation.
Since its conception in 2001, J.A.M. has conducted programs in collaboration with, and/or in partnership with community agencies, clergy leadership, corporate philanthropic organizations, and institutions to support more than 250 churches and over 10,000 youth and young adults. J.A.M. also has established its own signature programs that draw from this population to support an average of more than 1,100 youth and young adults each year.
J.A.M. complements the youth ministries that exist in the community churches of the city and throughout the state. And as such, many of the adult staff and J.A.M. coordinators are representatives of the city and surrounding community churches. Since its conception in 2001, youth, young adults, community leaders, church leaders, corporate sponsors, individual sponsors, volunteers, and clergy have worked together to bring more than 1,100 young people together annually to celebrate the Lord. J.A.M. successfully transcends many barriers, including age, church denominations, race, ethnic, communities, and schools to accomplish its mission, vision and annual goals.
The youth and adult staff and key volunteers of J.A.M. have made it their mission to fulfill the call and vision that God has placed on their hearts, feeding the people and instructing the youth in the way of the Lord. Since J.A.M. began, youth have stepped to the forefront as leaders in the ministry. J.A.M. now has children who have developed into young adults serving in the capacity of ministers, musicians and musical directors, dancers, music producers, writers, mime ministry leaders, choir directors, counselors, teachers and young missionaries. Their ministry is invaluable to J.A.M. and the volunteer staff in the planning and administration of the services and events. These young adults exemplify the true meaning of J.A.M. and the youth ministry. As role models they encourage the youth and young adults in attendance as well as the adults. This is a ministry where all work together and learn from each other. Everyone depends on the Lord to see them through in the administration of an awesome ministry.
J.A.M. is a blessing and has received blessings with the support and cooperation of many of the churches and philanthropic entities in the Western Pennsylvania region. Youth groups and ministries from neighboring cities and states have participated in the services and events, sharing their ministry gifts in song, mime, dance, and the Word.
J.A.M. sessions have been held in both the central and eastern sides of the city with more than 50 churches in the region giving their support of the ministry. These numbers are anticipated to grow as the ministry continues to grow. Providing the youth and young adults with spiritual and physical food, and a means to fellowship is the focus of J.A.M. Services are put together through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, which oftentimes are followed up with special events, all held in the same evening into the early morning hours.
With upwards to more than 150 volunteers and J.A.M. Coordinators conducting J.A.M. events, adult youth directors and parents invest their services and time to seeing that the children can celebrate and have fun in the Lord. Special events have included Christian skates and dances. These events give the youth and young adults a means to fellowship outside of their churches with other believers across faith communities.
In 2002, J.A.M. incorporated an educational component into their ministry. Working on a volunteer basis with 5th Quarter Enterprises, a Pittsburgh consulting firm specializing in primary and secondary education support services; teachers and college students have addressed the importance of educational preparedness. This collaboration equips young students with the necessary tools to perform competitively in the city school systems and later in college. The study principals and the manner in which to successfully approach higher education are a common goal of J.A.M. and Fifth Quarter Enterprises. Acting as a collaborative unit, J.A.M. brings the message for spiritual preparedness with Fifth Quarter addressing the educational preparedness of all youth. Through seminars, motivational speakers and course studies, J.A.M. and Fifth Quarter implemented and expanded the education component in the ministry. This educational component bridges the gap between what the children experience in the school systems and at home.
In 2007 J.A.M. moved a step closer to becoming the most widely accepted and celebrated cross-denominational Youth Ministry through an association with the Alliance of Male Empowerment Networks, Inc. (AMEN). This collaboration developed under its AMEN's mentoring and youth development initiative.