Christian Higher Education Since 1892

The President's Report 2013 - YACHT Club

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Youth Against Complacency and Homelessness Today

When St. Louis officials conduct their next headcount of homeless people in city shelters, it’s likely Alex, Robert, Darrell, Mary and others who have engaged with students from Greenville College’s YACHT Club will be among their numbers. For the students involved with YACHT (Youth Against Complacency and Homelessness Today), homelessness is more than a social issue; it calls to mind the names, faces, voices and aspirations of folks they know.

YACHT Club

Every other Saturday the students take to streets in St. Louis where they distribute winter hats, gloves, warm blankets and toiletries to homeless persons in need. Because life on the street takes an emotional as well as physical toll, the students season their giving with forethought and kindness. They pause to engage folks in conversations and take care to learn their names and circumstances. Sometimes the conversations uncover personal stories from the homeless of times when seeking shelter and staying safe consumed less of their energies.

“These are people who are trying to get jobs,” explains student Nicole Barks, “people who believe in Jesus and people who don't believe in Jesus. These are people who love to read, people who are cold, people who are waiting to get into shelters, people just getting out of shelters, people passing through and people laying on sidewalks in their sleeping bags.”

GC’s YACHT Club resembles the original ministry developed at Eastern University by Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. Though not directly linked to the national body, the GC group shares the same ideals and builds on the same passions – an urban ministry where students meet needs of the homeless while steering clear of the “assembly-line service” some ministries model. Instead, YACHT adopts a more relational mindset that has students engage with less fortunate persons, planting and nurturing seeds of true friendship.

“Our mission is to bring physical comforts in the ways we can such as toothpaste, razors, soaps, and warm clothes,” says Nicole. “But at the core, we want to be about sustenance for the soul. We want to bring possibility for relationship.”

Members of YACHT challenge others to share their vision of service among the St. Louis homeless. “We are constantly humbled to help. Constantly challenged to open our eyes to what we can learn from our homeless brother and sisters,” says Nicole.

To learn more about the YACHT Club, contact Nicole Barks, 201006585@panthers.greenville.edu.