YOKE is happy to introduce you to our newest team member, Eli Smith. Eli is a native of East Tennessee who enjoys playing music, going to the movies, and exploring new places. The youngest of three, he grew up in Chattanooga and moved to Knoxville in the summer of 2016.
Eli graduated from UT Chattanooga with a degree in Civil Engineering. During college, he had the opportunity to play in a worship band that toured throughout the Southeast. As much as he loved the music, his favorite part of touring was getting to play at youth camps and conferences and hanging out with the students. He has also been involved with high school and middle school ministry, both through church and with on-campus ministries. 
After, college, Eli moved to Knoxville to participate in the Knoxville Fellows Program and fell in love with the city. During his time with the Fellows, he began to feel God pulling him away from the field of engineering. Though he still wasn’t quite sure what God was pulling him to, he knew that God had brought him here for a reason.
When Eli first heard about YOKE, he knew he wanted to be involved. “Middle school was a pretty rough time for me,” recalls Eli. “I didn’t have any real, meaningful friendships at that point in my life, and my faith in God was lukewarm at best. I’m so excited to be working with a ministry that is actively connecting kids with mentors who can help them grow spiritually. That’s something I wish I had when I was in middle school.”
Eli will be serving as the area director for Blount County, which currently includes Alcoa, Coulter Grove, Union Grove, Eagleton, Carpenters, and Heritage. As area director, Eli’s main role is to equip and encourage the team leaders, recruit and train volunteers, and foster YOKE’s relationships with those local school administrators. For more information on how you can be involved, contact Eli at eli.smith@yokeyouth.com or (865) 522-6907.