CYAS teams up with Christ in the City ministry
Over the past year, Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS) has been building a strong relationship with Christ in the City (CIC). Christ in the City started its ministry in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Denver with the help of Catholic Charities. Its primary focus was to inspire and lead young people to pursue missionary work. Today it is a Denver-based service program. It maintains its emphasis on Catholic formation and hopes to create a stronger Catholic faith in the missionaries who participate in CIC.
James Fernandez has played a major part in CIC since he graduated from college in 2012. He began as a missionary and served a year along with 17 other missionaries. Throughout that year, his main focus was helping educate Regis University students and encouraging them to volunteer with CIC as well. When he completed his year in missionary work, he was asked to step in as the new Program Director for a new house CIC was establishing in Colorado Springs. This was the first time CIC had expanded outside of Denver, and James was excited for the opportunity to continue the work he was doing. James stayed in Colorado Springs for a year before deciding to return to Denver to serve as Operations Coordinator. When asked what he does in this position, he joked that he was "kind of a jack-of-all-trades." He does a bit of everything, including updating the website and figuring out how to create a blog even though he had never done that before.
His main passion has always been connecting with the poor on the streets of Denver. He has come to appreciate that CIC does not have the same limitations as most charitable organizations. James feels that some charities can "miss the relationship factor" with the people they help. According to James, as long as people are safe, there really are no limits in CIC. "We meet them where they are," as he puts it.
CIC literally does meet the homeless where they are. Every Friday, the missionaries walk up and down the 16th Street Mall, interacting with the homeless. The homeless now know who they are and expect to see them. CIC always wears grey shirts to identify themselves and the homeless are often heard to say, "The Grey Coats are coming" whenever they see the CIC missionaries on the mall. James said the missionaries come in contact with many people who are new to being homeless. CIC is able to help these people to find the right resources to get back on their feet.
CYAS became involved with CIC when Paul Spotts, the founder of CYAS, approached CIC and offered scholarships to the missionaries to participate in the CYAS sports leagues. CIC appreciated this offer since its current Denver house is conveniently located close to all the CYAS sporting facilities. As time progressed, Paul thought it might be nice to offer a charitable opportunity to the participants in CYAS to walk the 16th Street Mall every month with CIC. These fourth Fridays have become social gatherings as well and brought all participants closer together. One of the fourth Fridays was Halloween, so after the walk all the volunteers went back to the CIC house at St. Joseph's and had a Halloween party.
This partnership has helped grow both CIC and CYAS ministries by bridging their communities. James noted that people are learning what CIC is and what it does, [as well as experiencing a healthy broader community in CYAS]. He added that anyone can volunteer; CIC walks the 16th Street Mall every Friday helping the homeless. The organization is always seeking new missionaries as it continues to grow. All that is needed to become a missionary is to be a practicing Catholic, to have a heart for the poor, and to be open to community life. James does admit that the commitment involved is intense, but that it is worth it. Every time he serves the poor, he feels more connected to them, and others who participate in this ministry feel the same.
CYAS is a 501c3 non-profit charity, meaning donations are tax-deductible to the degree allowed by law. Like nearly all charities we have a revenue generating side through our sports leagues (e.g. red cross sells blood from blood drives) and a larger fundraising/charity side that is the heart of why we do the sports (discipleship through Bible studies, retreats, and mission trips). CYAS' revenue from leagues is not nearly enough to cover the expenses for a national outreach ministry. In fact, it isn't even enough after expenses for one full-time staff employee. Donations primarily serve our mission in these main areas:
- To cover players that receive free scholarships for playing in our leagues (10% of participants)
- Expansion of our services in existing locations (including marketing for outreach and the development of formation programs)
- Expansion efforts (including our need for support staff and office space to build a national system - think league operation support, national marketing, donation processing and servicing, accounting, legal support, and expansion related travel and training systems)
- To pay for our insurance cost (about $10,000/year and growing as we grow)
- The ongoing formation, training and community building among our missionaries. They need to be loved in order to continue sharing His love
Full refunds will be provided for any event that we cannot hold due to field scheduling conflicts, lack of interest, or any other cancellation of a league/event on our part.
If a player is injured and will miss the remainder of the league, we suggest they help recruit a permanent sub and ask them to subsidize their fees (please contact us so we are aware of the arrangements & injury, or for help finding possible replacements).
Free agents and donations are non-refundable. Credits may be given to free agents for leagues, if they notify us before registration closes.
Several teams have both spouses playing and bring babies or kids to be watched by substitutes on the bench or by bringing a friend/relative spectator. Many captains will also let the couple share a team fee and just not play at the same time depending on if the team needs a man or woman. Couples may also free agent and join a team in this method, just contact us if you plan on rotating play and want a discounted team fee.
DEFINITELY BRING THE KIDS OUT! ALL OF OUR SOCIALS ARE EVEN AT FAMILY FRIENDLY SPORTS BARS (unless otherwise specified)
We do ask participants to please refrain from consumption during our leagues out of respect for our participants who are opposed to the consumption of alcohol, are underage, and to help us provide a good witness that healthy fun community can exist without the assistance of liquid spirits.
It is CYAS policy that during CYAS events, where alcohol is allowed, only beer and wine may be consumed, no hard liquor or mixed drinks.