If there is one word that describes LOVEtheLOU, it is relational. Founder and Director of Oversight, Lucas Rouggly, and his team are motivated by the Gospel to be in intentional relationship with those living in the Enright community of North St. Louis. Their niche? Mentoring and empowering the local youth to dream big, work hard, and discover their gifts/skills for a brighter future. The hope? To reverse some of the negative poverty trends and mindsets plaguing many of the youth and to expand their worldview.
Through their Enright Community Gardens and STL Lift: Mentorship Program, along with countless volunteers, LOVEtheLOU has been able to make a powerful impact. Homework hangouts during the school year and summer Saturday workdays in the Gardens, as well as what Rouggly describes as “experiential field trips on steroids” – where teenagers are exposed to various careers, excursions, and fields of study – have all contributed to skill development, character growth, and strengthened work ethic in the youth with whom they work.
Rouggly says that the key to their success is “embracing the messiness of all of it.” And, with that, is actually living and being present in the community. Having a consistent, positive presence has been essential to growing relationships. In one of his many touching, “give you goosebumps” stories of God at work through LOVEtheLOU’s ministry, Rouggly recalls sitting in a circle (back in 2012) with a small group of 12-13-year-olds. In an attempt to get to know them better, he asked what seemed to be a very typical, get-to-know-you question, “What are your dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up?” Their response? They just wanted to make it to the age of 21 – to beat the odds of living in their community and survive! From that point forward, LOVEtheLOU has been striving to make that possible, while also preparing the youth for a successful future. With tears of joy in his eyes, Rouggly shares that 3 of those teenagers recently graduated from High School this past May (and are thriving), and the others are expected to do the same!
With a group of nearly 30 teenagers this year, LOVEtheLOU looks forward to seeing how the Lord will continue to grow and transform those He has entrusted in their care, and how that positive change and enthusiasm will overflow into the surrounding community.
Want to learn more about LOVEtheLOU’s work? Check out these recent news videos!