logoCharis is a Greek work and is pronounced “Kar-rees”. This word has several interpretations. One is spiritual and means “Grace”; perhaps not deserved, but granted.

Another interpretation is “second chance”, similar to a “gift”.


The logo is derived from the Lakota Native American tribe. The circle represents a nation of four races bound by four basic virtues and qualities of life: belonging, independence, generosity, and mastery. In the Charis logo the circle is not perfect, neither are the children. As in life, we all have our own unique qualities and features, but together we will stand to make a difference in our brothers’ lives.


Charis Youth Center also embraces the values of the Circle of Courage*. These values are derived from the work of Brendtro, Brokenleg, and Van Bockern in Reclaiming Children and Youth: Our Hope for the Future, 1990.

In Indian culture, significance was nurtured in a community that celebrated the universal need for belonging. Native American anthropologist Deloria described the core value of belonging in Indian culture in these simple words: “Be related, somehow, to everyone you know.”
Treating others as kin forged powerful social bonds of community that drew all into relationships of respect. Theologian Marty observed that throughout history the tribe, not the nuclear family, always ensured the survival of the culture. Though parents might fail, the tribe was always there to nourish and come to the aid of the next generation.

Competence, in Indian culture, was ensured by guaranteed opportunity for mastery. The first lesson in traditional Native American culture was that one should always observe those with more experience to learn from them. The child was taught to see someone with more skill as a model for learning, not as a rival. One must strive for mastery for personal reasons not to be superior to someone else. Humans have an innate drive to master their environments. When success is met, the desire to achieve is strengthened.

Power was fostered by deep respect for each person’s independence. In contrast to obedience models of discipline, Native teaching was designed to build respect and teach inner discipline. From earliest childhood, children were encouraged to make decisions, solve problems, and show personal responsibility. Adults modeled, nurtured, taught values, and gave feedback, but children were given abundant opportunities to make choices without coercion.

Finally, virtue was reflected in the preeminent value of generosity in Indian culture. The central goal in Native American child-rearing is to teach the importance of being generous and unselfish. In The Education of Little Tree, Carter recounted his grandmother’s overriding principle,” When you come on something good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; that way, the good spreads out where no telling it will go.” In helping others, youth create their own proof of worthiness; they have the power to make a positive contribution to another human life.

* Used with permission from
Reclaiming Youth International