PictureDani Castillo greets 41 new YOKE Kids.

YOKE is excited to be launching a club at Eagleton Middle School this semester, after missing last semester due to volunteer turnover. We were thrilled to have 41 kids from the school join us for the very first club this week!

In the fall of 2018, Broadway Baptist Church in Maryville expressed a desire to partner with YOKE to impact students at Eagleton. They began building a team of volunteer leaders to plan and lead a weekly club, and spend quality time with students from the school throughout the week.

Nelson Chapman, team leader at Eagleton and a member of Broadway Baptist Church, has been particularly excited about getting started. “With a supportive administration, an ethnically diverse team from multiple churches, and a desire to share hope with middle school students, we have seen the overwhelming presence of the Lord going before us,” said Nelson. “Sometimes as a child of God, you just know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” he added. “This is one of those times.”

Dani Castillo, a pastor at nearby St. John’s United Methodist Church, has wanted to partner with YOKE at Eagleton for several months. He jumped right in, bringing with him another member of the church, Carmen Vargas. Dani and Carmen are both bilingual, which is a great asset considering about 15% of the students at Eagleton are Hispanic, and many of those students are more comfortable speaking Spanish.

In addition to helping meet the spiritual and emotional needs of these students, our team is helping to meet their physical needs as well. For some students, the school lunch may be their only meal of the day. Both Broadway and St. John’s serve dinner before their Wednesday night services. With club on Wednesday afternoons, the team will be able to offer students a ride to their churches just down the street, where the students can receive a free meal and an opportunity to interact and worship with other kids their age.

Eagleton’s new principal, Summer Russell, has been immensely supportive of YOKE, and Kelsey Watson, a former YOKE Folk, is serving as our faculty sponsor. “I am so thankful for the turnout at club yesterday,” Kelsey said.  “Like other schools, many of our students have rough home lives and really need the support and encouragement that YOKE provides. Praise God that YOKE is back at Eagleton.”

While our team has gotten off to a great start, the huge turnout for our first club has made it clear that we could use some extra help. YOKE is always looking for new volunteer leaders to plug into our schools. If you are interested in getting involved with YOKE at Eagleton, contact Eli Smith at eli.smith@yokeyouth.com, or apply, right here on our website.