The Salt of the Earth

The Salt Changers Youth Group is establishing a mission called “Kindness and Respect” that will reach South Florida.  The group seeks to teach kids to show respect and kindness at school, home and in their daily lives.

The Salt Changers website states, “Our mission is to impact others by providing a loving, safe, supportive, and spirit-filled environment that gives them a sense of belonging and a positive outlook on today’s society. Our focus is to steer youths away from crime and to provide an atmosphere of discipline, development and educational advancement.”

With over 20 years of experience in law enforcement, Jackie Archer, the founder, is most passionate about this mission.  After seeing the erosion of our youth, God placed a passion in her heart to impact their lives.  She was convinced that we are the salt of the earth, so the group derived its name from the verse in the Bible when Jesus says, “We are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13).  Jackie wanted to offer that God-centered solution to as many youth as possible.

The Salt Changers Youth and Dance Outreach Program began in 1998.  At first, the mission of The Salt Changers was to evangelize young people.  Soon, the group discovered a pressing need to find purposeful, positive activities for the youth, which led to the Salt Changers Dance Outreach Program.  The Salt Changers Praise Dance Group performs for nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and special events.  Recently, the performers have been to Wilton Manors Nursing home in Oakland Park, Florida. In an interview with Pastor Neal Waugh, he adamantly expressed, “We want to sensitize our youths to respect the elderly.  We believe this can be a tremendous tool to infiltrate the youth with the things of God.  This is a Life unto the Lord, not just a performance.  It is a consecrated and set apart standard that has infiltrated their hearts.”

The group is aiming to have a “Kindness and Respect Day”, which will be recognized throughout South Florida.  The motto of the Salt Changers is: “The youth mobilizing to take back our community with the acts of kindness and respect”. Young people today have many difficult issues to deal with, including drug addiction, domestic violence, spiritual indifference, loss of identity, suicide and murder. If these problems in our culture are not dealt with, the downward spiral will continue. The answer, according to the Salt Changers website, “is right in our hands, in spite of the growing challenges we face daily. We must understand that without empowering the youths with the vital principles of acts of kindness and respect, it will be impossible for them to achieve a balanced life.”

This change must begin with our hearts and minds.  Only then can it be shown in the way we treat others. This first step will help to banish hate, fear and anger. When we live by these standards of respect and kindness, it will assure a promising future for the next generation. The website states, “The Salt Changers Outreach Team has embraced that change and is committed to spread this message abroad to others through the Acts of Kindness and Respect.  Our prayer is that with the help of God, many will become a part of this great movement.”

The goal of Salt Changers is reminiscent of the story Pay It Forward – the book and movie which tells the story of Trevor McKinney.  Trevor is a 12-year old boy who changes the world by starting a concept called “Pay It Forward”.  This concept consists of “paying forward” an act of kindness – instead of paying back the person who did the favor, you do a good deed for three other people.  Afterwards, a ripple effect of kindness is achieved – the good deeds spread outward until the entire world is touched.

Jackie Archer also started Growing Smart Development, Inc., a non-profit corporation, in 1998. Growing Smart is an outreach program which responds to the needs of society, particularly the needs of young people.  As mentioned on the official website, Growing Smart is “committed to a comprehensive and practical character development program that is fostered through arts appreciation, environmental education, and social outreach activities.”  Some of the important programs include:  Academic Advancement, Character Development (such as the Salt Changers Act of Kindness and Respect Movement), Leadership Training and Nutrition Awareness. These programs strive to bring harmony to the lives of young people and their families.

The future of our society and our nation truly rests with the young people of today. The Salt Changers is instilling youth with Biblical values of love and respect. We can do our part by teaching the young people we encounter- through words and example- the way that Jesus taught us to live.

For more information about Salt Changers, visit www.saltchangers.org.

Please tell us what you think about this article. Comment online at www.goodnewsfl.org. Shara Vales can be reached at valesshara@aol.com.

Shara Vales :