Our Southern Hills Story

In 1989, a small group of concerned adults met to discuss how to connect with area teenagers that were not being reached by local churches. Among those at that first meeting was Galen Dolby who was working with Youth For Christ in Elkhart, Indiana. Galen committed to serve as the first full time staff person in Bloomington and YFC Southern Hills, Inc. became a chapter in 1990.

Over the next two decades, YFC Southern Hills' Campus Life program began thriving. Weekly meetings were held in central locations in Bloomington, Bedford and Spencer. Hundreds of teenagers - middle school and high school students - gathered to discuss topics, play games and hear the life changing message of Jesus Christ. As the program grew, staff and volunteer teams were added and in 1996, the YFC Southern Hills leadership transitioned to Jennie Hession as Galen moved on to become the first full-time State Director for YFC.  Jennie Hession served as Executive Director of Southern Hills YFC from 1996 to 2018.

In 2019, David A Schunk was named Executive Director after ten years as Campus Life Director at Bloomington High School South.  Today, Campus Life programming is available to middle and high schoolers in Bloomington and Columbus, and high schoolers in Spencer. Parent Life programs are available for parenting teens in Bloomington and Bedford.  Over 1,000 teens are involved and impacted each year, representing about 10% of the student population in these 10 high schools and middle schools.

Timeline of the last 30 years:

1989 - Interested adults meet in Bloomington to discuss Youth for Christ
1990 - Southern Hills chapter of Youth for Christ is established
1991 - Campus Life Breakfast Club begins for Batchelor Middle School students.
1991 - Bloomington North and South students meet before school at downtown McDonald's
1993 - Campus Life in Bloomington expands with the hiring of a full-time director
1994 - Students participate in Project Serve Miami to help Hurricane Andrew victims
1995 - Campus Life begins in Bedford at BNL High School, Bedford and Oolitic Middle Schools
1996 - Anonymous donor gives downtown Bedford building for Campus Life club meetings
1996 - YFC Southern Hills co-sponsors Youthfest Concert Event for teens
1997 - Campus Life begins at Edgewood HS as student leader and IU student volunteers work together
1998 - YFC Southern Hills office headquarters moves to more spacious office on Bloomington's south side thanks to a generous donor
1999 - Student leaders from the YFC Southern Hills area attend DCLA training event with over 2000 from around the country
2000 - YFC Southern Hills hires first Campus Life Director for Owen Valley High School
2004 - YFC Southern Hills kids join other YFC chapters at first national YFCamp week at Crooked Creek in Colorado
2004 - Staff expansion (2 Campus Life Directors) in Bloomington increases impact at BHSS and BHSN
2005 - Bartholomew County is added to YFC Southern Hills ministry area with merger
2005 - Lawrence County outreach includes Mitchell High School students
2006 - Middle school outreach begins at Northside Middle School and Central Middle School in Columbus
2008 - Caring adults express interest in YFC for Martinsville and a series of meetings are held
2008 - First Owen County fundraising banquet
2010 - Campus Life for BHSN and BHSS moves from homes to The Warehouse
2011 - Campus Life meetings begin at Batchelor and Jackson Creek Middle School
2011 - Community Adult Support Team (CAST) is formed for Edgewood outreach
2012 - After a ten year hiatus, Campus Life returns to Edgewood High School
2015 - YFC Southern Hills celebrates 25 years of ministry and launches a new leadership development program
2016 - Campus Life meetings begin for Columbus East High School students and new Campus Life for Bloomington High School North is hired
2017 - New Parent Life ministry is started in Bloomington with Roseanna Dubinski in the founding director role

2018 - Jennie Hession steps down from Executive Director role

2019 - Parent Life programs expand and are available in Bloomington and Bedford

2019 - David A Schunk is hired as new Executive Director

2021 - Campus Life programs are available at all Bloomington and Columbus middle schools and high schools as well as in Spencer at the high school level.  Parent Life programs are available in Bloomington and Bedford.  Southern Hills has a staff of six forging this ministry, seven board members, over 35 volunteer leaders, and more than 120 students in authentic Christ sharing relationships.