The vision of Youth Commission West Virginia (YCWV) is to reach the world for Christ through youth, with a mission to impact school campuses for Christ through students, faculty, staff, and community volunteers. We work toward those goals through student-led, Christian clubs that meet on middle and high school campuses.
The Youth Commission model is unique: the students lead, and the adults support them. Experience has shown that student-to-student testimony is powerful. Since the ministry began in 2011, over 1000 people have accepted Christ through the work of Youth Commission West Virginia Clubs!
God knew there would come a day when the mere thought of speaking His name would be frowned upon, whether it was in a school, the national media, the workplace, or politics, and He put people in place many years ago to make sure He was not forgotten.
One such group of people is Youth Commission West Virginia. This statewide non-denominational non-profit organization has set its sites on establishing Christian clubs in middle and high schools across all 55 counties in West Virginia.
Youth Commission was established in 2011 by brothers Phil and David Gandy, natives of West Virginia, with a heart for its children. YCWV was formed to focus on spreading the Gospel of Christ to the youth of West Virginia in public schools.
Youth Commission accomplishes its goals through the dedication of its supporters, sponsors, and student-led Christian clubs. They work with local churches, pastors, youth pastors, and volunteers to establish and maintain YCWV clubs, and encourage local churches and businesses to become sponsors in their area. They also work with Christian teachers who facilitate club meetings by volunteering their time. These networks help sustain the clubs financially and connect students with others who can help mentor and disciple them.
The clubs provide an opportunity for students to hear about Christ since some have not attended church at all or not on a regular basis and also gives an opportunity for those who know Christ to express their faith in Him among their peers.
“There is a generation gap,” Leah Eberbaugh, Northern West Virginia Director explained.
“This gap is between millennials who have never gone to church and are now having children. They are in turn not taking their children.”
“We want to give kids hope,” Jennifer McKay, Southern West Virginia Director added.
“We are also looking into the opioid problem in the state and how we can equip students in the YCWV clubs who have friends and loved ones who are addicted. We’re examining avenues of how to form groups within the clubs for peer-based support for those students. All this is to bring real hope to their situation.
“We want to let them know through Christ, God’s word offers real hope.
“And we have seen such a hunger in the youth for the Truth–to know real hope in their lives when things go wrong.”
Because of the 1984 passage of The Equal Access Act, schools are required to allow Christian student groups to meet during the non-instructional time on school premises. Part of the criteria for the Christian clubs is that it is to be voluntary and student-led.
Clubs can be sponsored by youth groups, churches, etc., outside of the school. Teachers are present at YCWV meetings but not in a leadership capacity.
YCWV clubs usually meet one day a week anywhere from fifteen minutes to a full class period. Some students may even want to gather more than one day a week.
The clubs promote Christian leadership skills, teamwork, and life-long relationships that will follow the students throughout their lives. The students are allowed to hand out flyers and information about the meetings to others to let them know when and where they will be meeting. It can also be added to the announcements during the day as a reminder. It’s important to note that anyone can attend.
YCWV not only helps to start and maintain Christian clubs, but it also supplies Bibles, helpful resources, a YCWV Facebook page, assists in sending kids to Bible camp, and training. They also coordinate outings to Christian movies, bowling, and putt-putt golf, just to name a few.
At each club meeting, participants place their names in a jar. At the end of the year, there is a drawing for an exciting gift for each club such as a kayak or a two-hundred dollar gift card.
YCWV also encourages students to meet outside of schools, and in church youth groups, where they can learn more about Christ alongside their friends.
“The YCWV is spreading to all 55 counties,” McKay said, “And throughout our public schools as people hear of the great things God is doing in the youth of WV!
“We encourage student leaders to bring more services to the community and for YCWV clubs to get the next generation involved. If it’s cutting grass in the Summer or raking up leaves in someone’s yard or doing things like that, it will make them responsible, disciple them, and help to grow them in the Word of God through serving others.”
Although YCWV has seen many memorable moments over the past 7 years, one, in particular, stands out to director Eberbaugh. During a middle school club meeting, the student leader rose up and addressed his classmates. He said, everybody, we’ve been having revival at my church this week. I realize that we have not had a call to receive Christ into your lives in any of our YCWV meetings. Does that apply to anyone here? If so raise your hand. And hands went up!
He said, if that does apply to you, stand up, and we’ll all go out into the hallway, and we’ll say a prayer to receive Christ. They formed a circle in the hall where everyone could see them. They all bowed their heads, and the student leader led them in a prayer of salvation, then they went back into the classroom.
“They will always remember that,” Eberbaugh said.
“As long as the school stands, they will always remember that is where they received the Lord Jesus Christ.”
There have been over 1,000 decisions for Christ through YCWV and each week approximately 2,000 students hear the Good News.
The clubs have also experienced some unexpected results. One example is the Prayer at the Pole events. The professions of faith the students are making are having a profound impact on the adult staff. Teachers, principals, parents, and others see these young students unabashedly praying and declaring Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and it is causing them to reflect on where they stand in their faith. They are actively joining the YCWV sponsored events.
For elementary school children, YCWV has a Quarters 4 Kids program created for churches and Sunday School classes. The children collect quarters in buckets from individuals in the congregation every Sunday at tithe and offering time. Two students are chosen to count out the quarters, agree on the amount, and write it on the log and an adult confirms the amount. The money is turned in with the tithes and offerings with the amount noted for YCWV. They keep the records, and at the end of the month, the church treasurer issues a check for the amount collected for YCWV. One hundred percent of the money raised goes to YCWV.
By doing the Quarters 4 Kids program, the children learn valuable stewardship skills, and the local churches can help sustain clubs formed in their area with minimal impact on their regular activities. The program helps to sow seeds into the community and the entire state, as well as, into students who will eventually attend middle and high school.
A foundational goal for YCWV is to establish a desire, from elementary school children to high school young adults, of unity through the Quarters 4 Kids program and Christian YCWV clubs. By having them choose a county to pray for each week in their clubs and churches, essentially covering the entire state with prayer, it unifies them, helps to reinforce the YCWV students vision, and helps them see they are part of something much bigger than themselves or their individual clubs.
“We are sowing good seed into these YCWV clubs, these kids, and into our beautiful state, and it all stays right here in West Virginia,” director McKay said.
Youth Commission West Virginia is seeking additional churches statewide who are interested in sponsoring, establishing or donating to support YCWV clubs in their area. Directors McKay and Eberbaugh will come to your town for a presentation about the YCWV program, provide materials, and help implement them.
“It only takes two students to form a club,” Eberbaugh said.
For more information, locations, or to schedule a presentation, contact:
For secure online donations visit:
or mail checks to:
Youth Commission West Virginia
PO Box 855
Winfield, WV 25213
Facebook: Youth Commission West Virginia