Less than 2 miles separate Conrad High School in Dallas ISD and the center of the LHHS campus, but several profound differences are evident at first glance. Conrad’s shiny new building contrasts with Lake Highland’s almost 50-year-old facility. Conrad’s high-crime area known as “Five Points,” made up mostly of low-income and subsidized apartments, is a stark backdrop compared to the manicured single-family homes of LH’s sought after neighborhoods. LHHS can be a busy place, what with all the booster club fundraisers and parental involvement. Conrad has large refugee and Hispanic populations, and English is rarely the primary language spoken at home. The school has yet to see organized parental support.
Today, luckily, finally, both schools have a growing Young Life program.
Kyle Martin, Greg Smith and a team of LH Young Life supporters have been working with Conrad kids. On October 20th, they’re hosting Vickery Lap, a family-friendly bike ride around White Rock Lake, to raise funds to start a Young Life Club in the Vickery Meadows neighborhood around Conrad and to meet regularly and spread God’s message of love and acceptance.
“The students have been very responsive and this summer, more than 30 went to Young Life’s Frontier Ranch alongside the LHHS group,” Kyle told me. The goal is to raise enough money to hire a director for Conrad, just as Todd Beller leads LH’s thriving Young Life program.
Greg Smith, who raised four LHHS graduates with his wife, Katie, first began volunteering at Conrad via their softball program. When he learned one dad was in prison and one had committed suicide, he knew the need was deeper than just pitching lessons. He now mentors 25 young men in a weekly bible study called Campaigners, and he helped 30 Conrad kids go to camp this summer.
“You can’t help but love them,” Greg told me.
“This is not the typical suburban Young Life where the parents can write a check for camp,” added Greg. “They will all need financial help to get to camp.”
“They’re all apartment kids, no single-family homes. Seeing what they’ve overcome,” Greg went on, “that’s why I’m here. Your heart goes out to them. I want them to have an opportunity.”
If you’d like to help, you can participate in Vickery Lap by riding on October 20th, by making a financial contribution, or both. The ride begins at 9am at Dallas Bike Works, and more details are available here.