PictureAmber (right) at fall camp.

Amber Clevenger, a YOKE Folk at Bearden Middle, was recognized recently as one of the ten finalists for the prestigious Lucille E. Hill Award, given annually in recognition of those who touch the lives of children in our community without seeking recognition or praise. The award is presented by Reach Them to Teach Them, a non-profit organization comprised of community leaders, ministers, coaches, parents and others united by the commitment to invest in the future leaders of the world – our children.

Amber, now a baker at Nothing Bundt Cakes, has served at Bearden for three years. Like so many of our leaders, she wanted to become a YOKE Folk because of the impact that YOKE had on her life as a middle school student.

“I have loved YOKE since I was in middle school,” says Amber. “Two people invited me to come back and serve – one was a former leader who had gotten involved again, and the other was a girl I used to attend YOKE with who is now serving as a leader.”

Through YOKE, Amber has seen firsthand the impact a caring adult can have on a student’s life. She says that often the simplest gestures can mean the most.

“Last year at camp, our guest speaker asked all of the leaders to line up at the front of the room and invited the kids to come up for hugs,” Amber recalls. “It was a powerful example of God’s love for us, one that I will never forget.”

Leah Carter, YOKE’s area director for the West Knoxville schools, has enjoyed watching Amber grow in her ministry.

“When I first met Amber she was so shy and quiet, but over the years I’ve seen her confidence grow from a behind the scenes type of leader to a YOKE Folk who is willing and able to jump up in front of club and lead any activity going on,” said Leah. “Amber has a knack for quietly and comfortably meeting kids, getting to know them, and making them feel welcome.  She’s not the loudest or craziest leader on a YOKE team, but she is definitely one of the most genuine and consistent leaders on any team.”

The students at Bearden appreciate Amber’s consistency, her sense of humor, and her willingness to be a part of their lives. And we’re thankful to have her as part of the YOKE family!