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National Volunteer Week 2017

During National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017, Emerald Youth is pleased to highlight some of the faithful individuals who volunteer in our ministry.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering, visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for more information.


 

Mike Bates
Volunteers with Emerald Youth Sports

Volunteer Week - Mike Bates

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

I first heard about Emerald from a few of my friends that had children in the program. Then, a few years later, I served as the High School coordinator at Emerald Avenue UMC.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

It has given me the opportunity to meet new people (young and old) and make new friendships. It has been rewarding to see positive changes and victories -- small and large -- in their lives.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because…

Volunteering allows me to use my time, talent and treasure in a way that, hopefully, will make a positive impact on young people in our city.


Jennie Littleton
Volunteers with Emerald Youth Sports

Volunteer Week - Jennie Littleton

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

I received an email from my professor at the University of Tennessee that Emerald had some Americorps positions opening up, and the sports role described sounded exactly like something I would want to do. Following my AmeriCorps service, I've continued to volunteer with Emerald.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Volunteering has always been a huge part of my life because I am able to see the amazing impact it makes in communities.

Volunteering at Emerald has helped to connect with people I would never have interacted with had it not been for Emerald, and those people have changed my life. I can see the difference we all make in each other's lives, and it makes the community feel closer and happier. Volunteering my time has been the greatest blessing and gift to me. Volunteering can seem difficult to fit in, but it is constantly rewarding.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because…

I love the mission of the organization and wish to help the community in any way I can.


Kevin Miller
Volunteers with Emerald's College Street Ministry in Mechanicsville

Volunteer Week - Kevin Miller

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

I connected with Emerald Youth after having a significant change in passion, where I wanted to serve alongside people who are working to give city kids a chance.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

I’m a big believer that most things in life are a flow. We have to allow love in to give love out, and the same is for happiness, energy, hope, etc. Volunteering is a chance for me to step into that flow, where time and love flow in and out.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because…

Emerald is making a difference in the lives of inner city youth, and doing a fantastic job.


Lynn Oglesby
Volunteers with JustLead at Second UMC

Volunteer Week - Lynn Oglesby

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

My church, Second United Methodist, under the direction of our minister, Tim Paul, partnered with Emerald Youth Foundation in 2015. A JustLead afterschool program was adopted in to our church family, and I knew right away I wanted to get involved.

On day one, I was paired up with a little for girl for Wednesday night dinner. I meet with her one day a week after school and she is also in small group with me on Wednesday night. We do homework, read books, play games, share snacks, and just generally have a good time being together. Sometimes I just hang out with her and the other kids in whatever after school activity they are involved in. We have a special bond!

How has volunteering impacted your life?

I volunteered without really knowing what the experience would be like. Sometimes it’s messy and challenging, but the joy that comes from loving these children and sharing the love of Jesus with them, is what it’s all about! I feel so humbled and blessed to be a part of their lives and JustLead.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because…

I know urban kids face many challenges. Initially I volunteered to invest in them and try to have a positive impact on their lives. The reality is they have had a positive impact on my life!

I feel so much joy when I work and play with them, share Wednesday night meals with them, share Bible verses and stories with them and listen to their prayers during our small group time. I’ve built relationships with them and I’ve learned what makes them happy and sad and what they are afraid of. They have stolen my heart, and I continue to volunteer because I care about and love the kids.


Clay Daniel
Volunteers in JustLead at Mount Zion Baptist Church

Volunteer Week - Clay Daniel

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

As a UT student, I heard about Emerald by just being in Knoxville. During my sophomore year, I got an email from our Career Services office saying that Emerald was looking for volunteers to go in to schools and help with math, English, etc. I had always thought about it, so I went for it and served for a semester in a high school math class. I liked it, for sure, but, looking back, it wasn’t quite right for me.

A Beta Upsilon Chi (Brothers Under Christ) fraternity brother of mine had been serving in AmeriCorps at Mount Zion Baptist, and he took our small group there one day to make smores for the kids. I really enjoyed it, tagged along with him another day and kept going back, and here we are!

How has volunteering impacted your life?

Honestly, there are Wednesdays where there is so much going on, and I know that going to Mount Zion will make things more hectic. When I walk in and the kids are being goofy, and I get to be goofy with them, it makes my stress disappear. Emerald has made me more bold in my faith and more invested in this second home. I also know that, one day, I’ll be a better father to my own kids because of my time with Emerald.

I volunteer with Emerald Youth because…

These kids are important to me. I keep thinking of a verse I heard during my initial training, about how the next generation will be a great tree that covers the forest with its branches. These kids are the next generation of Knoxville; they’ll be leaders and people of this city.

I’ve kind of felt, both personally and professionally, that my calling is to be a stagehand and to support those who are out changing the world. These kids will be on that stage one day, and being with Emerald is my way to better them and our community.