‘Time is Now’ for Emerald Youth

By Jamie Schnell


The May 5 Emerald Youth Foundation prayer and fundraising breakfast was a huge success, with almost 2,000 attendees at the Knoxville Expo Center. The event highlighted the foundation’s inspiring work in the city neighborhoods of Knoxville, and featured the Emerald Youth Choir, ministry leaders, and testimonials from current and past youth participants.

The annual prayer breakfast was also the launch of the “Time is Now” campaign. This campaign focuses on raising 200 “promising, Godly, young adult leaders for Knoxville” by partnering with more churches in the community to develop the next generation of these youth.

WVLT’s Ted Hall gave a powerful speech about the foundation’s efforts to support families and churches in Knoxville, growing local support and opening doors for their ministry to serve more children.

“Emerald Youth is leading the effort to the families of Knoxville by offering our church partners faith resources and building relationships with our after-school programs,” Halls said. “We are growing in our local support and are excited about the doors that God is opening.

“Every child in every South Knoxville neighborhood can have the opportunity for a full life.”

A video showcasing the foundation’s work and a video from community leaders in Knoxville were also presented. The Emerald Youth Voices, directed by Jasmine Andrews, performed the songs “Lion” and “I’m So Blessed,” followed by another awe-inspiring performance by the Emerald Youth Worship Dancers, dancing to “Now Behold the Lamb of God.”

Alumni from the Emerald Academy, including Maurice Davis, Naely Ortiz-Lozada, Annabel Slate, Eriana Spencer and Matthew Todd, were introduced by Cedric Jackson, EYF church relations officer.

Sydney Allen, an alumna, shared how being part of Emerald Youth opened up a world of opportunities and a relationship with God. Mentor Jalen White and student Armani Bond, an eighth-grader at Vine Middle School, highlighted their mentorship as an example of the positive impact of the Emerald Youth Foundation.

Several speakers emphasized the importance of supporting and raising the next generation of leaders in Knoxville. Hannah Hopper reminded those in attendance, “You have seen our vision. You have heard our hearts for our children in our city. Let’s go back and do something about it.”

Rick Dunn spoke of the success Emerald Youth has had on the children of Knoxville. “Proof of three decades of impact and growth. Proof of opportunity and what God has done. Raising the generations of what God has placed in our communities; the young Moses, the young Esthers. He’s placed among us the young Gideons, the young Marys, and the young Davids. Let’s be a part of raising up these generations.”

The breakfast concluded with a prayer led by Hall urging everyone to “Pray for our kids in the city.”

To support Emerald Youth’s mission to serve 3,000 youth this year, visit emeraldyouth.org/getinvolved or thetimeisnowemerald.org.