In 2003, the ministry began in a small building near downtown Des Moines where more than 250 homeless teens came to be loved and hear the truth of God's Word. In 2005 God's plan to reach more youth continued to unfold, as Freedom opened the Promise House for young adult men ready to change their lives. In May 2006, the ministry acquired a six-acre property in inner-city Des Moines. The campus underwent major renovations and, in 2007, we launched elementary, middle, and high school programs. The campus now includes buildings for woodworking, employment training welding, auto mechanics, art, culinary training, computers, worship, and large group activities.
In 2009, Freedom built and opened a 5,000-square foot transitional home for young women in addition to starting a statewide outreach ministry to help towns across Iowa reach youth with gospel-centered programs. In December 2016 the residential program of Freedom for Youth Ministries closed. Now there are Freedom Centers in Mitchellville (2010), Stuart (2012), Perry (2013), Winterset (2015), Knoxville (2016), Huxley (2016), and Carlisle/Hartford (2017). We also have church-sponsored sites in the Des Moines Metro. These areas include Johnston (2014), Downtown Des Moines (2015), East Des Moines (2015), and the Drake Park Neighborhood (2017).
In 2011, the ministry founded as an enterprise, Freedom Blend Coffee. It is a coffee business that empowers high-school youth and young adults through Christ-centered employment training. In 2014, Freedom for Youth purchased a car wash located on the west end of the Des Moines campus and began renovating the structure into a retail coffee house that opened September 2017. Freedom Construction Services was founded in 2015 as an employment training enterprise.
In 2016, Freedom received funding to purchase Scores Bar, next to the coffee shop. We got straight to work on a design plan and have secured approval from the city to bulldoze the bar down and start construction on a Children's Center.
In 2017, Freedom acquired the Bike World Warehouse west of the Hickman campus. With this building we have plans to expand our employment training programs geared toward teaching young people skills in the trades.
In the summer of 2017, a new program called Freedom Quest was born. This traveling ministry visits rural communities during the summer to help pave the way to planting new Freedom Centers across Iowa.
Today, more than 500 youth participate in programs each week at Freedom Centers across the state. Young people are discovering their God-given talents and planning their future. Some graduates are attending a 4-year college or trade school, or starting careers in health care, manufacturing, construction, and ministry.
Throughout its history, the ministry has seen God consistently provide all we need. Consequently, Freedom has no long-term debt, and all donor contributions go toward supporting programs rather than paying off debt.
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“I love how we boldly proclaim the whole Gospel at Freedom for Youth! I have enjoyed getting to know all the students and look forward to sharing the good news with them every week!” - Nicole, Volunteer