James “JB” Brown, author, three-time Emmy award winning television host, and sports commentator gave the keynote speech this week at the Metro Maryland Youth for Christ (MMYFC) fundraiser held at Martin’s West.

Brown gave not only words of encouragement, but even shared some of his deepest challenges, such as the loss of his mother, and how he has moved beyond every obstacle.

“Through the trials and tribulations, it has been my faith that has sustained me,” said Brown, shortly before addressing 1400 members and sponsors of MMYFC.

Brown, lead announcer on CBS Sports’ NFL Today, said he believes “there is no more challenged a group of people than our young people,” due to the overwhelming presence of negative influences on television as well as in music.

“They are subjected so much right now. I’d better be involved to make certain that we save our young ones. God has made it clear that they mean a lot to Him,” said Brown.

Sponsors and volunteers met May 8 in efforts to help raise money for the Baltimore branch of the organization, established in 1971 after the national movement began in 1944.

“When I first got involved we had about 300 kids a week coming. Now, it’s a thousand,” said Executive Director of MMYFC Bob Arnold, who has been a part of the organization for 36 years.

“We work with kids who aren’t a part of any church. We reach out to kids who have had a lot of trouble in their lives, introduce them to Christ, and they have their lives really turned around as a result.”

MMYFC is a conglomerate of several faith-based youth organizations such as Hope for the Rejected, which focuses on drawing in Goth teens and skateboarders, Campus Life, which targets high school juniors and seniors, and Juvenile Justice Ministries, which ministers in correctional facilities and group homes. The group hosts summer camps and faith conferences for teens and preteens, as well as weekly forums and getaways to help every youth become a success story.

“I’ve seen what Youth for Christ does for all the kids around here and I believe their doing the right thing,” said 21-year-old Joshua Douglas, who joined the organization at age 16. Douglas, like many other former teen participants, now volunteers with the organization to help others.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer