Making a Difference: Tulsa ministry helps youth turn around lives

TULSA - Rapping is more than a hobby for J.J. Quier.

It's an important outlet, where he can tell the stories of his troubled life.    

"I was abused neglected, and mistreated," said J.J.

He was sent to a group home but he wouldn't find another family until years later when he met Bruce Whisenhunt.

"He's kind of like a son to me and I think he feels the same way," said Bruce.

Bruce met J.J. through a Tulsa ministry called Life Launch which helps young men and women who've aged out of the DHS system.

"When we did some statistical studies we were finding that many of these youth, were ending up homeless, jobless, in jail, drugs etc.," said Life Launch co-founder John Venture.  "And we decided we needed to do something."

Similar to programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, they partner the youth with an older adult, who meets with and mentors the youth several times a month.

"We believe that that's helping them because it provides direction, guidance, and encouragement," said Venture.

Bruce and J.J. admit their relationship got off to a rocky start.  J.J. wasn't sure if he wanted Bruce's guidance.

"I was hard headed," said Bruce.  "I was ignorant."

But thing's quickly changed when he began to see what Bruce and his wife Marcia were bringing to his life.

"They came to pick me up actually and I said Bruce, thanks for not giving up on me," said J.J.

J.J. says without Bruce and without the Life Launch ministry, there's no doubt where his life was headed.

"I'd be locked up.  I'd probably be dead actually," said J.J.

Now nearly two years after Bruce and J.J. met.  J.J. has entered the workforce and Bruce is even starting to like what J.J. likes.

"He loves to rap, loves music," said Bruce.  "I wasn't a big rap fan, but I've grown to appreciate it."

Thanks to Bruce and Life Launch making a difference, J.J.'s next rap song can be a happier tune.

For more information on Life Launch call 918-585-6112.



 

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