Volunteers invest in high school students’ lives
From early morning coffees to cross-country track parties, family dinners, committee groups, fundraiser planning, school play practices, Facebook updates, Bible studies, and weekly leadership meetings—it all adds up to a normal day for Emily Jenkins, who helps to support and train leaders with Young Life Ministries in Georgetown.
“When I try to explain the commitment of being a Young Life leader to people who are interested in becoming leaders,” explains Emily with a laugh, “I am always scared that I am going to run them off. Being a Young Life leader cannot be summed up in a number of hours to serve, certain events to attend, or specific tasks to complete. Being a Young Life leader is a lifestyle—it is an all-out, full-on, total commitment.”
The weekly club meetings, game nights, and Bible studies, though, all serve a deeper purpose of relentless, faithful relationship building with young people who are seeking to navigate the challenging transition from childhood to adulthood. Leaders choose to step into and invest consistently in the lives of these students and by doing so to provide a unique support system not only to the young people, but also to their families.
“I believe Young Life is an extremely unique ministry because the entire idea is to ‘chase’ after these kids relentlessly,” Emily says. “The whole thing is based on relationships. These young people long for someone to love them and to live life with them—we put in hours of life with these kids, and that impacts not only the kids but their families as well. When parents see what we are doing, they want to know more, and sometimes their lives change as a result.”
Impacted herself by Young Life as a high school student in Houston, Emily helped establish the Georgetown chapter of the national Young Life Network in 2011. Since then, the ministry has grown to include more than 80 Georgetown high school students who participate in the Monday night “club” meetings, Thursday morning Bible studies, and other activities each week.
“My vision for Young Life in Georgetown is that it will serve and benefit the community and care for every kid who lives here,” explains Emily, who also serves as a certified substitute history teacher within the Georgetown Independent School District. “I hope that every one of us who serves with it (Young Life) will be living examples that a life of faith in God is a full and wonderful life and that these kids can carry that truth into their families, colleges, and adult lives.”