Lighthouse a beacon for youth

ABOVE: The Lighthouse of Fairmont, on Downtown Plaza, welcomes every student on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon. Join the YFC for sweet treats, assorted activities, and memorable experiences.

FAIRMONT– Operating since 2001, Fairmont’s Youth for Christ student hub, The Lighthouse, provides a safe, supportive environment for students and the youth of the community. The staff strives for the after-school program to serve as a ‘beacon of light’ for students in troubled seas… in need of being steered in the right path.

The mission of the YFC is to reach young people everywhere to spread the word of Christ and raise passion, devotion and awareness through social involvement.

Chuck Rudolph is the area director for The Lighthouse. His wife, Evelyn, works alongside him and oversees administrative duties. Chuck has held a strong passion for teaching youth ministry for more than 50 years. He has seized plenty of roles in the Youth for Christ organization, having also been a part of the international team for nearly twenty years. In addition, he shares his personal stories with God weekly in Truman Tribune’s The Window, a weekly feature. His personal goal is to educate others on the Gospel, and help others take steps for a relationship with Christ. With their ideals aligned, both Chuck and Evelyn have formed a place for the community to learn, grow and begin friendships.

“I love being around kids,” Chuck said. “I love being able to see a young person grow and start new relationships.”

He said the most rewarding aspect of being an area director is being able to watch the visitors evolve.

“We push them away from ideas of drugs and alcohol. We try to get kids on the right track.”

Evelyn stated she and Chuck hope to provoke positive morale in their young visitors.

The Lighthouse focuses on bringing people together and forming bonds between others through common interests. The Rudolphs promote the word of Jesus, but never push students about it. Drop-in activities include pool tables, board games, video game consoles and more. Snacks for visitors are provided at each drop-in. Members of the Fairmont community are welcome (and encouraged) to become volunteers, upholding the tasks of mentorship and engaging students about the organization’s mission.

“Students are hungry when they’re done with school, so we have a variety of snacks. We also give them a safe place to stay,” Evelyn commented.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, the Lighthouse has faced a decrease in the number of visitors. That year, staff had installed individual kiosks for students to use their time to focus on schoolwork while remaining in an environment around their friends, while also practicing social distancing. Presently, students are thriving at the Lighthouse as the building has seen much more growth and brand-new faces.

The Lighthouse and the Youth for Christ organization provide plenty of activities for students throughout the year, including retreats, bible studies, prayer verse scavenger hunts, sports days and more. Winter and summer Prairie River camps in Bricelyn, Minnesota are open for registration for campers and volunteers.

“[The YFC] is very community-minded, but it’s also built from the experiences people have gained from us and will share. It feels great to know people are being helped,” said Chuck.

The Fairmont YFC graciously accepts donations. Donations can be made by delivery to Fairmont P.O. Box 3, or directly to The Lighthouse building (213 Downtown Plaza, Fairmont). The Lighthouse’s open hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 3:30 and closing at 5:30 p.m..


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