Skip to content

Julien’s Story


Julien came to the United States a few years ago and it was lonely for him when he first started school.  He was made fun of because he was just learning how to speak English and was often bullied by his peers.  In spite of his challenges with adjusting to a new way of life, Julien stood out as a leader among his peers.  He joined our Ambassador program at Union High School by recommendation from one of his teachers.  While in the Ambassador program, Julien explored how he could make a difference at his school by choosing to lead instead of following the crowd.

“During the silent demonstrations, we protested against bullying during lunch time.  One of my friends asked me why I was participating because I was one of the biggest bullies in school.  I didn’t realize how I was hurting my friends by trying to fit in with everyone else.  It really bothered me, so I made the choice to change.  As a leader, what I do impacts other people in my school so I choose to be more positive now.”

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership development is taking a deeper look inside ourselves.  All of the students in our programs discover that there are attitudes and behaviors that they need to change in order to reach their goals and make an impact in the lives of others.

Every year, we go on a leadership and discipleship journey with over 100 teens from churches, youth groups and schools in Grand Rapids.  We equip them and empower them to “be the change” in their home, school, and community.  Like Julien, our teen participants take up the challenge each year of choosing to lead.

Your support of GR Initiative for Leaders’ programs make this invaluable training and mentoring available at no cost to teen participants and their families.  With a gift of $25 of more, you can help more teens like Julien experience a leadership and discipleship journey that will impact them now and in the future.