FOCUS North America bolsters ministry to poor

August 6, 2009: FOCUS North America Extends Domestic Aid with Hundreds of Orthodox Youth Outreach Volunteers

FOCUS North America is excited to announce the extension of its domestic outreach to the poor by receiving the highly acclaimed “Orthodox Youth Outreach” (OYO) program from the Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Youth Ministry and Teen SOYO. Added to FOCUS North America’s diverse ongoing operations and partner ministries, the addition of the OYO program strengthens its domestic ministry to the homeless and hopeless by involving youth in urban service learning opportunities and social action leadership training.

“FOCUS North America, its Board of Directors and Staff are honored to receive OYO as part of its ongoing operations, extending and maximizing our programs to minister to the poor and raise up the next generation of Orthodox Christian servant-leaders in North America,” said Fr. Justin Mathews, Executive Director and CEO of FOCUS North America.

“It is with great joy and the blessing of his Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, that the North American Council of Teen SOYO gifts their Orthodox Youth Outreach program to FOCUS North America. FOCUS North America is the ideal home for OYO’s efforts to continue and expand its ministry to those in need in cities across North America,” Archpriest Joseph Purpura, Chairman, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Youth Ministry.

FOCUS North America believes engaging all of the faithful, especially our youth, in the Gospel work of serving the poor in our own communities is essential in keeping the youth faithful to Christ and active in the Church for a lifetime. OYO has dramatically influenced the spiritual lives of its hundreds of participants in the last five years since its founding by Fr. Kevin Scherer.

“It is truly exciting to see OYO find a new home in FOCUS North America. I look forward to seeing what God continues to do through this incredibly fruitful program, forming youth in Christ through meeting him in our most needy neighbors. Now more than ever, we need supporters and enthusiasts for the OYO program. As FOCUS North America thrives in its domestic outreach to the poor with your prayers and support I am confident that OYO and our youth will thrive as well!” said Ms. Katrina Bitar, OYO Program Director.

Fr. Justin said, “We congratulate and are delighted to welcome Ms. Katrina Bitar as FOCUS North America’s newest staff member and Director of FOCUS North America’s OYO Program.”


Rev. Fr. Justin Mathews,
Executive Director & CEO

Ms. Katrina Bitar,
FOCUS North America OYO Program Director

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