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Passing the Baton

Because of SOY mentors, many struggling youth in 2018 received the needed emotional, spiritual and educational support to encourage their lives. God designed children and youth to be “innately wired to connect” with others, particularly caring adults like mentors to guide them.

SOY’s ministry of mentoring has changed the direction and trajectory of many young lives. Positive change through mentoring takes a different course with every youth. It can be immediate or delayed, but it always exhibits productive fruit. The timeline of change in the young lives we serve through mentoring is always in the Lord’s hands and we never know the movement of His Spirit.

For 25 years, I have been convinced that a mentor’s words and guidance is prophetic in nature. Mentors “see in” a youth the personal qualities and gifting unique to that child which is God-instilled and designed! God speaks through mentors as they walk with the child, directing here and there until the child arrives at the place where God supernaturally planned. This is the process of “fulfilling the Lord’s promise” in the child’s life. A mentor declares God’s design and His word to the child! God has always proven faithful to the call of Save Our Youth to grow youth through mentoring and I so marvel at how God’s Spirit miraculously moves. “Our God is great and does marvelous deeds…He alone is God (Psalms 86:11).”

I have deeply loved the work of Save Our Youth mentoring for the past 25 years. I have witnessed many struggling youth come to our office requesting a mentor. I have seen youth stay in relationship with their mentors from 1 year to 22 years! I have seen our youth graduate from high school, complete bachelors and masters degrees, and even one former mentee will receive his doctorate degree in May! And I have seen youth achieve impressive job and leadership titles in companies all over Denver and the nation! Many of our youth have drawn to and depended on a relationship with Jesus Christ!

About two years ago, after much prayer, I decided that I would pass the baton of Save Our Youth leadership to a new leader who could direct our important work of mentoring into the next 25 years. That said I want to announce to you that I am transitioning from my role as leader of Save Our Youth. In hearing about my leadership transition, some have wondered, why? Did something bad happen? No, not at all. I am older now and I think it is better for someone new to take over, someone with new fervor and creativity to grow SOY to reach even more youth today and into the future.

The Board of Save Our Youth officially named Russel Dains to start in January, 2019 as my successor. I am excited about what Russel will bring to Save Our Youth Mentoring! Russel is a proven leader to take the reins of Save Our Youth. Most recently he was the Director of Strategy and Partnerships and Program Director for Friends First, a local mentoring program. Russel displays strong Christian leadership and I believe that you will be as excited as I am when you meet him in person and through his correspondence with you. I will miss leading Save Our Youth, and I will miss writing to you to help Save Our Youth “defend the cause of the fatherless and to plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17).

Thank you for your confidence, gifts, prayers and faithfulness in Save Our Youth over many years. Save Our Youth has been my life’s work and the ministry of mentoring has shaped my life spiritually. Your help has been a blessing to me. Our God who is generous and faithful has used Save Our Youth mentors to join the lives of at-risk youth who are desperate for an adult to guide them. Join me to pray for Russel and the Save Our Youth staff to mentor many more youth to grow and develop emotionally, educationally and spiritually!


With Deep Appreciation for your help over the past 24 years!


Luis Villarreal

Founder of Save Our Youth