YOKE is excited to open three new clubs this fall – Gibbs Middle and Hardin Valley Middle in Knox County, and Montgomery Ridge in Blount County – but there are many details involved in opening a new club. Area directors are tasked to recruit a team (8 YOKE Folk and 2 Team Leaders), find a teacher sponsor, secure a meeting space, and inform the community about YOKE. Additionally, YOKE strives to involve local churches in this process.

For the Gibbs team, Roger and Dana White were quick to step up and volunteer to lead the team. The saying around YOKE “once a YOKE Folk, always a YOKE Folk,” really captures Roger and Dana’s heart for the ministry. Over the years they have served as YOKE Folk at Springhill, Halls, and South Doyle, as team leaders at Holston Middle School, and as kitchen crew at camps and leadership training weekends. Coming out of “retirement” for the Gibbs club was special for them since the new school is less than a mile from their house and they attend church in the community.

“YOKE has been a huge part of our adult lives and the life of our family,” says Dana. “We are super excited to be able to share the YOKE experience and the love of Jesus Christ with middle school students here in our home community of Gibbs.”

It is also really special to them that they will be serving with their daughter, Sarah, a former YOKE Kid who has been serving as a YOKE Folk at Holston. Sarah has a group of girls that she has been mentoring at Holston who have now been rezoned for Gibbs, so she has decided to make the move with them.

“The move from Holston to Gibbs was a difficult decision, but I am so excited to get to help start the Gibbs club,” said Sarah. “God has been doing some really incredible things in this ministry, and I know that it will continue with this new school. I’m so ready to see how He is going to move.”

Others from the YOKE family have joined the team at Gibbs as well. Judy Fugate, a sixth grade teacher at Gibbs, has offered to serve as our teacher sponsor. Judy served as both team leader and teacher sponsor at Halls prior to transferring to Gibbs. Alan and Hannah Duncan (former team leaders and YOKE Folk at Whittle Springs) have volunteered to serve as co-team leaders. Hannah is also a teacher at Gibbs Elementary. Both Corryton Church and Fairview Church have invested financially to help bring YOKE to the Gibbs community.

“We’re so excited about YOKE coming to Gibbs Middle School and anticipate great participation from our students,” said Cindy White, who will serve as the school’s first principal. “YOKE has been an important part of programming in the middle schools where I’ve been. The mentoring of students by caring adults falls right in line with our commitment at Gibbs Middle to providing a sense of belonging for every kid.”

It is exciting to watch this community come together for their new school and for the middle school kids in the Gibbs community. YOKE is still looking for several Christian young adult leaders to serve as mentors at Gibbs Middle School. If you or someone you know would be an excellent addition to the Gibbs team contact stephanie@yokeyouth.com or call the YOKE office at 865-522-6907.