Like most kids, Darius was struggling trying to figure out who he was and where he fit in the changing world around him. Adolescence involves detaching somewhat from childhood and parents and forming a second social family outside of the home. This stressful social transformation, in addition to the emotional and physical ones, often produces emotions that kids themselves don’t understand.
To make matters worse, Darius had to deal with the death of his grandfather, who had always been a source of encouragement and stability in his life. The overwhelming loneliness he felt drove him to desperation, and he made plans to end his life.
“I came home from school one afternoon and went straight to my room,” recalled Darius. “I had made my plan and I was ready to follow through. I was actively trying to block thoughts of my friends and family from my mind.”
Fortunately, there was one thought that he just couldn’t escape. “I started to think about all the smiling faces of my YOKE Folk,” said Darius. “As these images came to mind, God reminded me of a message I had heard over and over at YOKE – that I was loved unconditionally, no matter what. The love that my YOKE Folk showed me literally saved my life that day.”
Like most YOKE Kids, camp was always a highlight for Darius. “Being around new people in a different environment pushed me out of my comfort zone and really helped me grow,” he said. Through YOKE’s Future Folk program, he continued to grow and serve at camp.
Now, a senior at Heritage High School, he serves as a YOKE Folk at Heritage Middle and last fall brought six of his own YOKE Kids to camp for the first time. He also serves as a student leader in his youth group at RIO Revolution, where he leads a small group for middle school boys, and recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He plans to attend college in the fall, majoring in music education, with hopes of one day teaching music to middle school students.
Like many of the kids that we serve, Darius would never have been able to attend camp – or bring his own kids to camp – without the generous financial assistance that YOKE's financial partners provide. Spring camp is just around the corner. Would you consider making a gift to impact the life of a middle school student like Darius?
It costs $125 to send a kid to camp, so your gift to YOKE could help in the following ways:
- $125 Sponsor 1 YOKE Kid
- $250 Sponsor 1 YOKE Kid & their YOKE Folk
- $500 Sponsor a cabin of YOKE Kids
- $1000 Sponsor a whole YOKE Club