A Race to Make a Difference

By Chris Walker

I first heard about the Thanksgiving Day 5K for YoungLives last fall when my church announced they were sponsoring the race. I had never heard of YoungLives before, but I remember thinking what a great thing this was because of their connection to Young Life.

I started going to Young Life during my senior year of high school after a couple of my friends finally convinced me to check it out. Honestly, I went thinking I would just go once to get them off my back about it. I just wasn’t into religious stuff. But I experienced something completely different than I ever thought I would at my first Club meeting.

I was expecting something kind of lame like every other church youth experience I had ever had. But it was like I was at a party, and everyone there accepted me without any judgement about the way I looked or my popularity level. I think I made about 20 new friends that night. Even the leaders, were not just some adult trying to be cool.

There was an authenticity about it that made me want to come back the next week. To make a long story short, Young Life changed my life beginning with that night. I started going regularly and that summer, I went to Young Life Camp at Lake Champion where things got real between me and Jesus.

So when I first heard about YoungLives and how they want to do the same thing for teen moms, I couldn’t help but get excited about that. I was not able to participate in the race last year, but my opportunity to help was coming.

Me and a few of my new friends at Young Life Camp circa 1997.

Earlier this year, my wife told me that she gave my phone number to her friend at work who was going to pass it along to the team in charge of making the Thanksgiving 5K happen. She said that they might need some help with website stuff. Within a couple of weeks, I was meeting with Katie at True West Coffee and I was invited to take on the responsibilities of updating and maintaining the website for the race. I jumped at the opportunity, excited to help out any way that I could. I am honored to serve this team and provide the opportunity for teen moms to experience something similar to my own Young Life experience.