Ryan with the Karns team at camp.

As a new semester begins, YOKE has many opportunities to make a difference at a local middle school. Each week, YOKE sends nearly 250 volunteer mentors onto middle school campuses across East Tennessee to meet students where they are. These “YOKE Folk” commit to helping once a week at a local club, building personal relationships with middle school students, and serving at camp one weekend each semester.

Ryan Murr is beginning his second semester as a YOKE Folk at Karns Middle School. Ryan’s wife, Makenzey, has been involved with YOKE since middle school and had been trying to convince Ryan to join since they started dating five years ago.

“For a long time, I was hesitant to become a YOKE Folk because I’m pretty reserved,” said Ryan. “I had been to YOKE as a kid at Eagleton Middle School, and I just didn’t see myself as the guy who got up in front of people acting wild and crazy.”

But coming into the fall semester of 2019, the Karns YOKE team had a real need for male leaders. Having seen how much the ministry meant to Makenzey, Ryan felt called to step in and give it a shot. Once he got started, he knew he was exactly where he needed to be. He particularly enjoyed his experience at YOKE Camp last semester and was surprised by the spiritual conversations he was able to have with his kids once he got to know them.

Having a full team has helped the Karns YOKE team develop deeper relationships with the kids in their club. The team has observed that many of the boys are more engaged now that there are more male leaders for them to connect with.

Like Ryan, you can impact your community by mentoring middle school students.  As a new semester begins, YOKE is looking for college students, young professionals, and other compassionate adults to serve as mentors in schools across Knox, Blount, Jefferson, Anderson, and Grainger counties.

If you’re interested in joining a YOKE team at a local middle school, the start of a new semester is a perfect time to come on board. Fill out our online application, or contact program director Eli Cockrum at eli@yokeyouth.com with any questions.