About the Ministry
Just Lead & Emerald Youth Foundation seeks to advance the kingdom of God by equipping urban children and youth to be leaders in their neighborhoods.
Advancing the kingdom of God -
In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus says, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10). Advancing the kingdom means sharing and encouraging God's will in the city.
Equipping urban children and youth to be leaders in their neighborhoods -
Isaiah 61:1-4 paints the picture. When God's people are faithful to their commission, then those receiving instruction and encouragement will be equipped for leadership.
"The Lord God has put his Spirit in me, because the Lord has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken, to tell the captives they are free, and to tell the prisoners they are released. He has sent me to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness and the time when our God will punish evil people. He has sent me to comfort all those who are sad and to help the sorrowing people of Jerusalem, I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness. They will rebuild the old ruins and restore the places destroyed long ago. They will repair the ruined cities that were destroyed for so long."
Isaiah 61:1-4 (NCV)
The vision of Just Lead is to annually equip a critical mass of urban children and youth to be leaders in their neighborhoods by providing them the right positive experiences and qualities they need to grow in their faith, maintain good health, and succeed in school.
Emerald Youth Foundation emerged from an outreach initiative, which began in 1988, for children and youth by the Emerald Avenue United Methodist Church. EYF was incorporated in 1991 as a 501(c)(3) entity and serves children and youth in three urban communities in Knoxville, Tennessee. They now are adopting the name of their most successful program within the ministry as it has grown and expanded their community impact so greatly
Just Lead has 18 full-time employees, 20 AmeriCorps members, and 140 active volunteers.
Just Lead anticipates serving 1000 children and youth aged 5-18 living in urban communities in North, East, and Northwest Knoxville in 2009.
The neighborhoods served by Just Lead-EYF are in conjunction with Knoxville's designated Empowerment Zone and Project GRAD communities. The East Knoxville site is located at Magnolia Avenue UMC and serves Austin East High School, Vine and Holston Middle Schools, and Green and Sarah Moore Greene Elementary Schools. The site serving the North Knoxville area is located in Emerald Avenue UMC and serves Fulton High School, Whittle Springs Middle School, and Christenberry Elementary. The Northwest site at Virginia Avenue UMC serves Fulton High School, Northwest and Bearden Middle Schools, and Beaumont and West View Elementary Schools. Each location has a learning center where the after school programs take place. A central ministry center, sponsored by St. Mary's Health System, houses the main office, classrooms, and a sports facility.
What's going on?
If young people in the inner city are given the right developmental assets, or positive experiences and qualities, to grow in their faith, maintain good health, and succeed in school, then they will have a strong foundation for becoming leaders and have the power to change their circumstances. Just Lead is committed to giving urban youth the best opportunity possible for transformation to occur through after school (and summer), church youth, and student and family mentoring ministries.
Several opportunities for a volunteer to share with a child their knowledge, experience, skills, hobbies, but most importantly there time are available. Where do your interests lie? Do you want to be on the "front line" with the kids, or do you prefer a "behind the scenes" support role? Whatever your preference is, Just Lead has a place for you!
We recruit volunteers for our after school programs to be tutors, homework helpers, enrichment club teachers, recreation leaders, field trip chaperones, craft instructors, health club teachers, and Bible club leaders. The after school programs run from approximately 3:00 - 6:00 pm Monday-Friday for elementary and middle school students and weeknights for high school students.
If you are interested in an opportunity to share your Christian faith more deeply, the church youth programs on Wednesday evenings and Sundays may be the right place for you. Here, volunteers participate in Bible study and worship with the kids or lead small groups Weekend spiritual retreats offer additional chances to nurture a child's relationship with Jesus Christ.
Enjoy cooking? Share your culinary skills with Just Lead by volunteering to prepare meals for the children and youth who attend the church programs on Wednesday evenings. Dinner is served between 5:45 and 6:00 pm. Preparations for the meal begin between 4:30 and 5:00 pm that afternoon.
For the sports enthusiasts, coaching opportunities are available seasonally for several recreation programs including football, basketball, and volleyball. Scorekeepers and score clock operators are also needed.
Do you have other special talents or interests? Call us - if you have a passion for working with kids, we can help find a way to get you connected!
The Emerald Club - individuals, businesses, churches and/or civic organizations that contribute gifts totaling $1,000 or more annually for five years
John Reese Club - individuals, businesses, churches and/or civic organizations that contribute gifts totaling $1,000 or more during a one-year period
[Mr. Reese was one of the key leaders in the founding of EYF and served as Board President from 1998-1999.]
Kids Club - individuals, businesses, churches and/or civic organizations which contribute gifts totaling $1 to $999 or more during a one-year period.
Your gift may be made monthly, quarterly, annually or as often as you wish. Donations can be made by cash, check, VISA or MasterCard.
Just Lead - EYF has an Estate Planning Program to allow interested parties to make donations through an estate. These include:
Donation of stocks and/or bonds
Donation of real estate
Donation of other tangible property
Deferred giving with Just Lead as beneficiary
o Life insurance policies
o Inclusion of Just Lead in a will
o Establishing a trust, e.g., Charitable Remainder Trust, Charitable Lead Trust or Grantor Retained Trust
How can YOU get involved?
1718 N. Central St., Knoxville, TN 37917