Reach4Life is supported by Christ’s Church through Prevention Time, a local 501(c)3 formed in 2009, which supports a Christian AIDS prevention and youth development program in South Africa, where over 6.8 million are infected with HIV and over 2.3 million children are orphans. As of mid-2014, about 40% of the population of South Africa was age 19 or younger (www.statssa.gov.za) and the goal of this ministry is to reach these young people before they get infected, educating them on how they can know God, avoid the virus, and make wise life choices that will allow them to achieve their full potential.
Using Biblica's Reach4Life© New Testament (with lessons included) as curriculum, young Christian adults from local churches take the program into schools, prisons, and other church and community groups. They are referred to as Peer Educators because they are young people helping young people. These indigenous people know the language, the culture, and the communities where they live and work. The peer educators relate better with the youth because they are closer to their age group.
Prevention Time has no paid staff so all funds raised support the work in South Africa - transportation, training, and supplies for the Peer Educators; support for area coordinators and the program director, Thandeka Mavundla; and the purchase of the Reach4Life New Testaments.
The number of schools reached is dependent upon funding. Work is carried out in poorer townships and squatter camps. The Department of Education often requests that schools experiencing high rates of violence, rape, pregnancies, and other issues such as drug use be reached first. Nyaope, a common street drug, is highly addictive and destroys many lives. It is a mixture of heroin, antiretroviral drugs used for HIV treatment, rat poison, pool cleaner, and other filler ingredients.
Schools provide time during the day for Peer Educators to teach the classes. Headmasters report seeing an increase in the number of youth staying in school and a reduction in pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse and violent behavior. Program coordinators also work with clinics, social services, and other agencies to address medical, abuse, and other issues.
The young Christian adults who are Peer Educators benefit by learning job skills, making them more employable in areas of high unemployment. They are accountable for preparing and teaching lessons, filling out reports, and working with others within an organization. Peer Educators are trained in teaching methods and basic Christian doctrine, so that the teaching is engaging and accurate. They are sometimes even asked to preside over memorial services.
Churches are strengthened as Peer Educators, who are now more knowledgeable in Christian doctrine and have gained confidence through their experience, become leaders and pastors. They are also instrumental in developing youth programs, an area that is often lacking in churches there.
Youth are invited to commit to Christ and to abstinence, and to attend local, Bible-based churches in the community where they can be discipled. In 2015, Prevention Time funded the program in 93 schools and 7 detention centers and reached over 25,500 young people with the program, seeing 4,854 commitments to Christ and 8,632 commitments to abstinence.
Prevention Time is headed by Lorna Packard. Other board members include Mindy Sauerlender, Kim Ives, Mary Schumacher, John Packard, and Pastor Ed Kelley IV. The points noted on the map below show where the work is currently taking place, as of 2016.