Who We Are
At Urban Rhythm we understand that the youth are the future of Botswana and cannot be overlooked. For the success of the nation, it is important for us to empower them mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially to become the best they can be. All of our programs are focused towards this end. We have been working diligently on youth and community development since 2012. Urban Rhythm Youth Center was established in 2016 in the heart of Lobatse and Church at the Center was launched on Sundays in 2018. We now look forward to continue empowering youth and families in Botswana and beyond for many years to come as we launch more youth centers in other villages, towns and on University campuses!
Vision and Mission
Urban Rhythm aims to cause a cultural shift in the youth culture of Botswana by purposely injecting Jesus into young people's lives in relevant, exciting and life changing ways. At the heart of all we do, is equip young people to walk in their God given identity and purpose as we intentionally create disciples who make more disciples. Furthermore, we impact the community through a series of programs and social outreaches that develop the future leaders of society socially, spiritually, physically, and mentally.
We exist to honor God by establishing Christ Centered, Holy Spirit Empowered and socially conscious Churches and Youth Centers all across Botswana that bring lasting and meaningful change to their communities by engaging, establishing, equipping and empowering people with the skills and relationships they need to improve their lives and communities and the ability to recreate the change that has occurred in them.
What We Do
A Wide Range of Empowerment And Mentorship Activities
At Urban Rhythm we understand that the youth are not only the future of Botswana, but in many cases they are the current leaders. For the success of our nation it is important for us to empower them mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially to become the best they can be. All of our programs are focused toward this end. While many of our programs existed prior, Urban Rhythm Youth Center opened its doors in 2016 and officially registered as a Trust in 2018. We look forward to further empowering youth and families in Botswana for many years to come.
Reach 4 Life
Reach 4 Life is a Christian response to the HIV epidemic. It was developed in South Africa by the International Bible Society. The curriculum is a deep look into the social issues that youth face from sexual related issues, to drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, academics and career and many other topics. However Reach 4 Life is more than a curriculum. We use well trained and positive peer educators/mentors to establish clubs in local schools. This club atmosphere provides not only the good information the youth need to make the right decisions, but it provides an encouraging community in which they can walk out these decisions as well as a place to spread the message and impact other youth in their schools. The mentors provide support, accountability and a safe place for youth with questions. We have had great success with a large number of students in these clubs now since 2013 here in Lobatse. Students have come to these clubs and made some positive changes in their lives.
Friday Night Ignite
Each week on Friday from 6pm to 8pm we have a FREE program for the youth in Lobatse. These programs include music, dancing, poetry, games, competitions and other activities to entertain the youth all with positive messages in an atmosphere that does not permit alcohol, drugs, smoking or other negative behaviors. Then a positive message is shared from one of our staff or a guest speaker before the youth break out into small groups led by peer educators to discuss the topic of the speaker. After the program is finished we open up our game room with snooker, football tables and PS4 for the youth to play for free. It is an opportunity for positive entertainment and encouraging the youth. Friday Night is for ages 16 and up only. We hope to pull the young people off the streets and out of the bars and into a positive environment that can lead to positive change in their lives.
On Saturday we run a similar program to our Friday Night Ignite for youth ages 6-15 called Saturday Spark. Here again we mix fun and games with solid teaching and mentorship that will change the lives of youth and families. We do get a lot of children from under privileged families who may not otherwise eat on the weekend, so we upped our game from servings snacks or sandwiches to a hot meal each week for these youth. If you fit the age come see us each Saturday from 3:30 to 5:30.
House of hope
The House of Hope is a one year residential mentorship and discipleship program divided into 3 phases culminating in a graduation ceremony. The HOH is designed to offer women the best possible environment to obtain new vision for their life that will lead to transformation that will create lives where women are healthy spiritually, mentally, physically, relationally and financially. Without vision, people perish and we understand that due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other challenges that left many young women orphaned or growing up in dysfunctional and/or extremely impoverished families, that they need the opportunity to live in a safe environment that gives them new vision on how to live healthy, independent and productive lives that will have a positive impact on their families, future generations and the communities they reside in. The HOH provides an alternative for women who would otherwise be tempted to cobabitate and become co-dependent on unhealthy or abusive men in order to have somewhere to live.
Beyond the residential aspect of HOH, on Saturdays, our Ladies of Legacy program often takes place there. During this time, Bible study and devotions are held in addition to teaching life skills from sewing, to baking to crafts to hair styling, braiding and self-care. $150 a month can sponsor a woman to reside at the House of Hope.
One to One
United Football Club
This club was actually initiated by youth we have empowered as a way to reach their friends. We now have 50 to 60 young men who meet together weekly on Saturday morning for a friendly game of football. While together lessons are taught and relationships are built that turn into mentorship and transformed communities.
All boys grow older, but not all boys truly learn how to become men. The African Proverb says , "It takes a village to raise a child." We take this seriously. In an area where many young men are growing up without a father in their life, we take the opportunity to invest into their lives and teach them how men behave. From respecting authority, to taking care of your family, to being productive in the community, these things all take hard work, guidance and knowledge. We are here to show them the way and to walk the path with them as they lean how to Man Up. We meet each Saturday from 6pm at the Urban Rhythm Youth Center.
(Transform & VICTORy)
Once a year, during school break, we hold Camp Transform for youth we are in relationship with and orphans and vulnerable children. We ask schools we are in partnership to recommend students that would most benefit from a camp experience away from their normal environment where they often face difficult challenges. During this camp, we have team-building and confidence building activities, music, counseling and focus on mental, relational, spiritual, and physical health. Issues youth face such as suicidal thoughts, identity, self-image, self-respect, healthy boundaries, and making wise sexual decisions are taught from a Christian worldview. Victory camps dive deeper into issues addressed in the One to One discipleship process and are held multiple times throughout the year.
After COVID devastated the world and economies, our organization noticed more street kids out of school, and on the streets begging for food, digging in rubbish bins, being exploited by older youth and men to steal and commit crimes. Some were already using drugs at a young age to try to escape the pain of their lives and generally getting involved in risky and unhealthy situations. Therefore, we started the Chosen Champions program. Through this program, we offer a safe place for these kids to gather at our youth center. We provide structure and consistency in their lives through tutoring them, teaching Bible studies and one to one discipleship, teaching life skills and self care. On Fridays we take them to our campgrounds to bathe, the only opportunity in the week they have to do so. We also collaborate with community stakeholders and schools to get as many of these kids back in school as possible. Sometimes this requires paying overdue school fines, helping buy them uniforms or shoes and advocating on their behalf to be given another chance. At times, this also requires us transporting them to school. Additionally, whether they are in our program for a full day because they are not in school or whether they come after completing school, we provide food and nourishment for them 6 days a week so they do not have to dig in trash cans to survive. We remind them that they are Chosen and have a God-given identity and purpose in this world. They are facing incredible challenges on a daily basis and we do our best to also engage and minister to the families as well. Most of the Chosen Champions come to us with eyes downcast and with incredible brokenness. We get the privilege of seeing light and hope start to ignite in their eyes as they receive love and care through our team.
The Foundation Scriptures for the Chosen Champions are Ephesians 1:4-5 and Romans 8:31-39.
Want to learn more about the extent of our services? Get in touch with us today and swing by for a visit!
Meet the Shores of Botswana
Shannon and Lindsay Shores moved to Botswana to serve and empower youth in 2011. Lindsay had come on prior trips as a 17 & 18 year old to work and serve in rural villages and fell in love with the country and felt a call from God to come back and serve the youth who are the future leaders of the nation. In 2007, Shannon came for the first time and also felt called to come back and work with the youth of the nation in the future. So they arrived in 2011 with their first born Alexis who was 1 1/2 at the time. Since then they have given birth to 2 more boys in Botswana (Gabriel and Kendrick), adopted their daughter, Praise, and had two foster children, Lex and Violet join the family as well. As evidenced by their multi-cultural family, the Shores have a passion to help young people when it's within their power to do so. Both have a background in social work and ministry, with Shannon possessing a degree in Biblical studies and philosphy along with accreditation in youth and family development and Lindsay possesses degrees in Business administration and marriage and family therapy. Through Urban Rhythm they hope to empower youth by focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual and relational health and to help them walk in and understand the love and purpose God has for their lives.
Founder/Director/Pastor/ Development and Expansion
Shannon came to Lobatse with his family, a passion and a vision. With the help and support of his wife, great churches and friends in America, and a few local youth, he set about doing the long hard work of building. In 2016 he opened the Urban Rhythm Youth Center and since has grown it into Urban Rhythm Youth Empowerment Trust and all its programs. As the Founder and Director he continues to seek to add programs and develop the Trust to meet more and more needs of the community.
Finance and Logistics/Development
Lindsay also arrived in Lobatse in 2012 with her family and a passion to make a difference in the lives of youth in Botswana. Her education and wisdom concerning finances and partner development have been essential in the growth and success of Urban Rhythm. While her family has grown from 1 kid to 6, she has successfully managed the growth of her kids as well as the growth of Urban Rhythm.
Emmanuel is from Lobatse and has been passionate about serving his community for years. He is a great connector with people and helping organizations work together to make a greater difference. Emmanuel has a heart to help youth reach their potential and find their God-given purpose. Emmanuel understands the importance of mentorship and helping develop the future leaders of Botswana. He is an uncle and role model to many young men in the community.
Hendrick and patience molefe
Discipleship and Empowerment
Hendrick and Patience have been an incredible addition to our team since 2023. Hendrick has been facilitating our Chosen Champions program, helping with Man-Up and brings a wealth of technical knowledge to the team.
Patience returned to her hometown Lobatse, and brings incredible organizational skills in addition to discipleship and mentorship capabilities which she utilizes through connect groups, the House of Hope and helping youth walk in their God given identities.
This incredible couple also have 3 beautiful, courageous, and passionate daughters who also get involved in ministry beside mom and dad. This family lives out healthy family in a community where it is needed.