“I could literally feel God in me-- with me. I got really close to Him and I’ve never felt anything like that before.”

Jurnee has been attending City Impact programs since she was in kindergarten—about 13 years.

During that time, so much has happened and, through it all, City Impact has been a constant throughout. It’s where she feels safe, she can be herself, and she knows she won’t be turned away.

Growing up, Jurnee went to church with her family, and she enjoyed it. But when their church disbanded, her family went less and less at their new church. Needing a spiritual home, Jurnee found that at City Impact.

“We’re all in community and all have fun loving and learning about God together.”

The summer of her freshman year of high school, Jurnee was told she was moving to Mississippi. Scrambling to find a way to stay in the town she knew, her aunt agreed to let her stay with her for the summer, so she could attend camp at Kids Across America. Once camp was over, she had no choice but to head to Mississippi.

Mississippi wasn’t home to Jurnee, and she couldn’t help but feel her life was a bit upside down. Two months later, Jurnee made it back to Lincoln and stayed first with a friend, and then again with her aunt. Back at school and at City Impact, she passed her time working, going to school, and spending time with her friends. For two years she stayed in Lincoln until her junior year, when she returned to Mississippi and spent her time watching her siblings and going to school.

With no friends and no community, Jurnee found the deepest relationship with God she’s ever had. With such few distractions, she learned how to love God and find faith in Him in a way stronger than ever. She wasn’t happy to be in Mississippi, but she was happy at the changes inside.

Then, in the summer before her senior year, she convinced her mom to move their whole family back to Nebraska. 

After coming back, Jurnee noticed a change.

“I did things differently. I think I involve myself in conversations more and when I got back from Mississippi, people looked at me differently and said ‘Wow, this isn’t the same Jurnee.’“

I feel like I owe everyone an apology for when I was younger,” begins Jurnee. “I wasn’t the bad kid, but I would just do what I want. Thinking about it now, it was so unnecessary–I did things for no reason.”

One thing Jurnee wasn’t expecting when she started attending City Impact was gaining a second family. A staff member, Ashley Larsen, became her “all-time favorite. “Growing up, she would always pick me up and take me places, I’d hang out at her house. To this day I can still go to her if I need something. She’s just a really good person; always helping if I need something, and always there if I need to talk or vent. she’s there. I’m friends with her sister, her husband—all of them.” Jurnee still sees Ashley about once a week and considers the Larsens a second family. 

Even though Jurnee doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do next in life, and she admits that her relationship with God is much harder to maintain back in the midst of so many distractions, she knows that she has many cheerleaders along the way. She takes pride in making sure she takes care of herself, so she can take care of the people around she loves.

Junee stays at City Impact now because she has friends and a community here.

“They are changing so many people’s lives, including families. If you need anything, City Impact will help you get it. When I go to City Impact, we are all a family and there are multiple people there that can help me if I need something.”

And that’s what City Impact is here for; to make a safe space to encourage a lasting change.