Less than one percent of American missionaries are black, but one organization is working hard to change that.

Leroy Barber, president of Mission Year, has made it his calling to recruit more black missionaries to serve in the U.S. urban environment.

“There is a goal for people to come to know Jesus,” Barber said. “There is probably another strong goal of things are not right in the world and I want to be part of making them right.”

Mission Year is a yearlong missionary and volunteer program for young adult Christians. The missionaries work in needy communities in the U.S., and must raise the money they use to live on.

Barber said the organization’s mission is important because black children in urban neighborhoods need to see a member of their own race doing good work.

“I don’t think it’s good for a kid growing up in an urban neighborhood to only see white faces coming to serve,” he said.

Harold Boyd, 22, left his Chicago home to spend a year in Atlanta, living on just $12,000 that he raised himself. He is the only minority on his mission team.

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