Testimonies from FRUIT. magazine Club

We work to make FRUIT. magazine more than just something to read but a tool to help kids in juvenile facilities to make positive life changes. One way we make FRUIT. magazine more tangible to our kids is through FRUIT. magazine club. We open up with an ice breaker to connect with the students, read and discuss articles from the magazine, and then close in prayer.

The theme for Issue 18 was teen parenting and recently was discussed in FRUIT. magazine Club. The group talked about the feature article called “Christina’s Story” and the Gangs 2 Glory article called “We Grow Up and Be What We Grow Up and See.” The first article is about Christina who was in an abusive relationship and was a teen mom with little to no support. The article talks about how she was stuck in this bad situation but she tells exactly how she broke free from the abusive relationship and built a better life for her daughter. The second article is about how kids growing up seeing the gang lifestyle will be in gangs but kids growing up away from it have a better chance to make positive life choices.

Two of the kids stood out in the club because they really opened up about what they were going through. The first kid kept saying how he feels stuck in a bad situation at home “but it’s not like you can get out of a gang.” Both of the leaders for the club used to be in gangs and have gotten out so they were able to talk practically about how you really can get out. He was definitely skeptical but really resonated with the advice to change his mindset and distance himself from the people pulling him in.

The second kid talked about how he had family and money problems that he needed to pay for. He talks about how he was getting fast cash but then he started getting clean money and was robbed which led to him making choices that led to his arrest. He opened up that when he reflects on these events, sometimes he is really angry and wishes things turned out worse for the other people involved. But he said other times he has peace with how things worked out because he now has a second chance and can go home to his family sooner. These stories alone are profound but we found out later from the facility staff that both boys rarely talk so opening up about their struggles in FRUIT. magazine club was huge.

This is our hope for FRUIT. magazine Club. We work to facilitate conversations about topics covered in the magazine to encourage real life change.

Tera Swigart