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National Volunteer Week 2016

National Volunteer Week

During National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, 2016, Emerald Youth is pleased to highlight some of the faithful individuals who volunteer in our ministry. Check back daily for another volunteer feature!

Click here if you would like to learn more about volunteering or join us for our "Get Connected!" Fair on Saturday, April 16, from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at our main office at 1718 North Central Street. Emerald Youth staff will be on hand to share about how you can connect as a volunteer, AmeriCorps member, employee or in other ways!

Silas Watkins: Volunteers as a soccer coach with the Emerald Force Soccer Club.

National Volunteer Week

How did you first connect with or learn about Emerald Youth?

Emerald Youth Foundation was one of the organizations featured during my church’s volunteer week. After further researching Emerald Youth online, I decided to serve as an AmeriCorps member. 

How has volunteering impacted your life? 

During my life, I have been blessed that the plan God has for me and an opportunity to volunteer have always coincided. When I was in my early 20s and searching for a purpose in my life, I was blessed with an opportunity to serve with elementary kids at Emerald. Every day was an adventure, and I was I able to leave a lasting impact on the children.

Now that I am in my early 30s, I get to coach soccer for the Emerald Force. Being that I am an avid soccer fan who loves to coach, I am again blessed with a chance to impact each and every child I serve while volunteering.  

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because...

It's a place where I can be a part of something that is leaving a lasting impact on each and every person  it serves. 

Justin and Kaitlyn Hawkersmith: This married couple volunteers at our Virginia Avenue Ministry on Wednesday nights and faithfully builds meaningful relationships with young people.

 National Volunteer Week      National Volunteer Week

Justin (featured in above left photo)

How did you first connect with or learn about Emerald Youth?

I was looking for an opportunity to work with students, and a friend of my mom's suggested I look into Emerald Youth. I became an AmeriCorps member in 2014 and completed two terms.

How has volunteering impacted your life? 

Before I started volunteering at Emerald Youth, I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go in with my life. After forming relationships with the kids at Emerald, I started to pursue a masters in counseling at the University of Tennessee with an emphasis on at-risk kids. I have also become a member of the church and currently attend with my wife who I met while serving with Emerald.  

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because...

The high school guys that I volunteer with have an ongoing list of "mentors" who have been in their life for a brief period of time and then left without any further communication. To me, I get a chance to be a neighbor and friend to these guys and not just a one-time mentor.

Kaitlyn (featured in above right photo)

How did you first connect with or learn about Emerald Youth?

I first learned about the ministry through Emerald Youth Sports. When the time commitment as a sports AmeriCorps member would not work with my schedule, I opted to be an AmeriCorps member with the JustLead program. I am so glad that God knew where he wanted me. After my AmeriCorps terms were up, I stuck around as a church member and volunteer.

How has volunteering impacted your life? 

Not only did I find several best friends, a church home, and a husband through serving at Emerald Youth Foundation, I also found a home. I moved to Knoxville to go to school, and I left my family five hours away. The communities and church that I volunteer in are my home away from home and my family. 

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because...

When I see these kids and their families I see what Christ intended a community to be. They have taught me how to share and form long-lasting relationships in a loving, Christ-like way. I still have too much to learn from the youth at Emerald, so I have to volunteer!  

Ky Schreiber: Serves as a volunteer tutor with high school students at our location in Mechanicsville and coaches volleyball in Emerald Youth Sports. 

National Volunteer Week

How did you first connect with or learn about Emerald Youth?

I first connected with the ministry when Rachel Davis, Emerald Youth's Staffing Manager, came to a class at Johnson University to recruit tutors. She also mentioned volleyball coaching, and after talking with her, I got connected there to coach volleyball. 

How has volunteering impacted your life?

I really enjoy serving at Emerald. I have gotten to teach kids and make small impacts on their lives, and in turn, I better understand the local community. I've also met some really nice people and had some great interactions while volunteering.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because...

I love working with kids and doing what I can to have a positive influence in their lives. 

Daphne Winston: Volunteers as a small group leader with high school girls.

National Volunteer Week

Emerald Youth volunteer Daphne Winston,  second from left.

How did you first connect with or learn about Emerald Youth?

I first connected with Emerald in 2000 when my daughter Keshia was enrolled in the program.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has had a good impact on me because it has allowed God to use me as he sees fit and is allowing me to have so much love for the youth. But the greatest impact is seeing how God has worked in so many the kids and how they have trusted me to be a part of it by sharing their lives with me. I'll always cherish the special moments and relationships we've made together; I just can't wait to see what God has in store for them in the future.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because...

It's a Godly, fun, safe place for the kids to be. They know the volunteers and staff really love them even if the days aren't always good. Why wouldn't you want to be a part of it?!

Seth Frank: Volunteers at Emerald Avenue United Methodist Church as a math tutor with middle school youth. 

Volunteer

How did you first connect with or learn about Emerald Youth?

I read about the Emerald Youth swim team in the Knoxville News Sentinel in 2013 e-mailed Emerald the same day to see how I could help. I was told math tutors were needed during the school year, and, as a local professional engineer, I was honored to share my knowledge with local youth.  

How has volunteering impacted your life?

I was taught that it is important not only to do well in life, but to do good. I only spend 1 to 2 hours a week at Emerald Youth, but I am rewarded for every minute of it.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because...

There is a need, and that need cannot be filled by one person or a check. I want to be a part, however small, in meeting that need.