International Youth Fellowship (IYF)

1. IYF – The flowers of interaction blossomed amid despair

1) IYF was formed by the outcry of a mother

“One day I got a phone call asking, “Please save my son Andy. I am afraid that something bad will happen to him.” The woman who called me was working as a CPA in Los Angeles. She was desperately seeking help for her son, who was a drug addict and in possession of a gun. When Andy came to Korea, I planted in his heart the hope and faith that had ended the wandering of my own young adulthood and he changed.” (Pastor Ock Soo Park, Korea Prison Reformation Committee member, Troop Information and Education instructor for the Korean Army, IYF advisor)

Andy now 30, lives in Denver, Colorado, and contributes to society as a dental technician. Fourteen years ago he was an out-of-control drug addict. Finding no solution for her son, Andy’s mother earnestly asked Pastor Park (who had been working with prison inmates) for help. Pastor Park himself had wandered aimlessly in his own youth, but true faith and hope changed his life. He planted the same hope and faith in Andy’s heart. Soon Andy stopped taking drugs and started a new life. After this news spread to other parents of troubled children, they began to bring their children to Pastor Park. This spurred the formation of the International Youth Fellowship (IYF) in 2001 as an organization dedicated to the correction of youth, and supported by many notable international figures.

2) IYF is the best alternative to establish peace in the world.

“He was living inside himself, completely separate from others. This kind of isolated life looks fine until something serious happens. But it actually hides great danger in it. Everyone is born with aggressive tendencies, but become refined by continuous interactions and nourishment. However, those who do not share their hearts miss opportunities to be refined. They cause impulsive accidents by justifying dangerous imaginations by themselves.” (Professor Shin, Euy-jin, Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University Medical School)

Cho, Seung-hi, the perpetrator of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting rampage—the worst gun incident in U.S. history—had been a loner since childhood and had not had any exchanges with others around him. This disconnection from any possible communication drove him to become the worst killer of the century. Many global problems are caused by the absence of conversations between individuals, communities, countries, and races. Terrorism, which became the dominant world concern after the 9/11 attacks in New York, is the result of a tragedy created by the absence of interchange between races. This is why IYF believes that interaction is crucial to building a bright future by young people. Currently IYF tries to solve global problems by creating interaction between communities and countries as well as between young people. We feel proud that IYF is the best alternative to solve global issues and establish peace.

3) Presidents, governments, and mass media have confidence in IYF.

“By listening to the Gospel that Pastor Park preaches and by watching IYF events, I became confident that IYF can change young people’s lives.” (President Fernando Lugo, Paraguay), “IYF has many valuable programs and through them the youth of the world will grow as essential workers for our future.” (Cho, Yoon Jae, Ambassador to Great Britain), “Through IYF, tens of thousands of youths will be changed and grow into the workers their societies need. Soon IYF will change the whole world by filling the global village with hope.” (Si-sa Times, July 2004)

IYF World Camp started in 2005 with the support of the Mayor of Wollongong in Australia. It has brought much confidence to many governments and to the mass media of the world. Since then, the United States, Austria, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Kenya, Ghana, Malaysia, Peru, Paraguay, and other countries have also hosted World Camps successfully. As a result of enthusiastic requests from more countries, approximately 40 countries will host the World Camp in 2011. The goals of the World Camps are to influence the policies for youth which is the major concern of each country and solve youth problems practically and effectively. In the near future IYF World Camps will be recognized as the most significant and effective youth event in the world.

2. IYF Major Programs and Activities

1) World Camps
Planned to be in the USA, Austria, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Peru, Paraguay and others. Approximately 100,000 attendants, in over 40 countries in 2011.

2) World Culture Exhibition
It shows different cultures of the whole world at one glance and attracts approximately 50,000 visitors yearly.

3) College Students Overseas Volunteer Work
College students have been sent throughout the world for voluntary work for years. Up to now around 3500 students have been sent to 80 countries.

4) Homecoming Presentation of Overseas Volunteers
Students report about their voluntary work and share cultural performances with thousands of audiences each year.

5) IYF Magazine Publication
It carries writings and speeches of notable figures from various fields and introduces cultures and customs from different countries. It also contains episodes showing how students interchange with others heart-to-heart. 28,000 copies are published yearly.

6) Gracias Choir Performance
Gracias Choir tours around the world with Russian top-notch musicians and perform around 30 times annually, attracting tens of thousands in their audiences.

7) Alternative Schools
Currently 10 alternative schools are educating and guiding middle and high school students throughout Korea.

8) IYF Campus Involvements
IYF guides students on campus through club activities, and currently around 80 countries are involved in this campus outreach.

9) Mahanaim College
Mahanaim, located in Huntington, New York, is the college that IYF administers to provide wholesome education to youths.

10) GBS Broadcastinge
Internet broadcasting in Korea and government -sponsored terrestrial broadcasting in Kenya are in service as the tool for educating youths.

11) Good News Medical Volunteer (GNMV)
GNMV began in 2008 with 7 volunteers. In August, 2009, 105 volunteers were added, and in 2010, 256 volunteers treated around 22,000 patients.

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