ANSONIA — Jimmy Meade’s photo and story appeared on the cover of the spring issue of Youth For Christ (YFC) of the Miami Valley.
The story told of his work with YFC and a service he has been providing for the Ansonia High School’s Core Club since last October.
It was penned by Erin Stefanow, wife of Josh Stefanow, associate/youth pastor at Ansonia First Church of God.
Meade, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, gets around on crutches, a scooter or wheelchair in his daily travels, but that doesn’t stop him from what he loves doing.
“Erin, who is head of the youth at Ansonia school through Youth for Christ. called me one day and told me she was praying about something that was on my heart for quite a while,” he said. “She asked me to be a part of the YFC group at the school for grades 9-12.”
“Yes, I have been wanting to do it,” he told her. “I have been wanting to get involved with young people. I have a passion for the young people.”
Meade’s work with the youth group is once a week on Tuesdays.
“The leaders meet in the cafeteria until 10:50 a.m. when they go back to Jason’s Wright’s room,” he said. “Each week, we have someone different bring in food for the kids, feed them and also have Erin or Josh prepare a short lesson that lasts about 20 to 25 minutes. They talk on different subjects.”
When he first began this service, Meade took attendance, while Erin did the lesson plan.
“Last week, I took care of the lesson plan,” he said. “I usually do a devotional , but I’ve broken it down into something smaller because of the time we have.”
He said there are usually 20 to 38 students to whom they meet with from 10:55 to 11:30 a.m.
“The lunch is prepared mainly by people of our church,” he said. “Sometimes we have pizza delivered to the school.
Each week varies, according to Meade.
“It depends on what Erin has planned,” he said. “Every week is not necessarily a lesson. It may be a fun activity sometimes.”
Are the students enjoying this?
“It depends on the lesson how they interact with us,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s hard to keep the kids focused to learn about the Bible.”
Meade, who will mark his 49th birthday on June 5, resides in Ansonia with friends, John and Krystal (Miller) Stewart, near the school. A 1991 graduate of Greenville High School, he attended kindergarten through fifth grade at a school for the handicapped in Dayton.
He started getting involved in Youth For Christ in the past year. He plans on staying involved with it.
“It gives me something to look forward to once a week,” he said.
His work before his first job with the City of Greenville, working at the weather plant; then he worked for Marco’s Pizza; Wayne Industries; and for VIA Quest Workshop in Vandalia.
He doesn’t let his handicap slow him down.
One thing mentioned in the newsletter that Meade was a little intimidated by actually leading teenagers.
“I was kind of scared, but it was a happy scared,” he said. “I thought I would observe and maybe someday be more comfortable to do more. “
But, after that first meeting, he said he felt God calling him to step out of his comfort zone and interact more with the students. Now, he leads his own small group, takes attendance, prays and has also led rowdy students in playing games.
It was reported in the newsletter that Meade has been a “great addition to the team.”
Josh Stefanow was quoted as saying, “Jimmy is an excellent example of the love of Christ. He is a fantastic, loving and sincere person who brings enthusiasm and passion to Ansonia Core Club.”
The article pointed out that Meade was never absent (unless there was inclement weather) and always punctual.
Erin ended her feature story in the newsletter by saying, “God doesn’t always call the equipped. He equips the called.”