David Balch: 2012 Lumen Christi Award Finalist

Balch

“David is Awesome. He reaches youth with the authority of God, the mind of fun, and the heart of Mother Teresa.”

“David really shaped my faith into what it is today. The Ministry at Sacred Heart is focused on God's love for the youth and reaching out to others.”

David Balch, Diocese of Monterey

Over the past five years, the city of Salinas, California has experienced an onslaught of gangs and violence that has torn apart families and left many living in fear. The growing instability in this community is testing the faith of youth and young adults in the area, who are plagued by social pressures and desperate for an alternative. Amidst this struggle, there is a light that shines from within Sacred Heart parish. David Balch has mobilized the local youth, empowering them to take ownership of their faith, their relationships and their community.

As Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at the parish, Balch draws young people from all over Salinas to his meetings and activities. He coordinates retreats, a youth group, Christian concerts, and gang outreach and evangelization, providing a safe environment for teens that is overflowing with faith. His efforts are changing the way that teens are perceived by adults, and more importantly, the way that teens perceive themselves.

Under Balch’s dedicated leadership, these teens have established ministries like 831 United, a movement that promotes peace and acceptance to improve the Salinas community for future generations. They organize retreats, conduct clothing and toy drives, and mentor their peers in need.

Balch is an example for these young people not only for his leadership, but also for his unwavering faith. He too has been tested—in 2009, he lost his four-year-old son in a drunk driving accident. Despite facing an unbearable tragedy, Balch and his wife publically forgave the driver, citing a belief in the “greater good.” Balch encourages all of his young adults to live lives in which the journey of faith is above all else. With his guidance, they are achieving a greater good, both within themselves and their community.