We want you to meet our friends Christy and Paul. Both have volunteered for several years in our youth ministry and both have students who have gone through or are currently in our youth group. We asked them to share a little about themselves as well as why they have given their heart and time to our teens...

Leader profile: Christy Carter

Hometown: Lakeland, FL

Favorite Book: One of the books I can remember above all else is The Giving Tree; I may remember it best simply due to memorizing it through reading it continuously when my daughter was little. For me the book was a representation of unconditional love, which reminds me of the love that God has for us.

Favorite Movie: August Rush still pulls at my heart strings years after watching it. 

Favorite Album: I am all about some Mumford & Sons right now. Their album Babel probably gets the most play on my Spotify.

Biggest Weakness: Chicken - grilled, baked, blackened, fried... chicken strips. Chicken nuggets. Chicken sandwiches, teriyaki chicken on a stick, stuffed chicken marsala, chicken wings. Blackened chicken salads. Did I say chicken? I could continue to go on and on and on...

Person You Would Most Like to Have Lunch With (Alive or Dead): Ethel Pearl Carter, my grandmother who is no longer with us. Between Jesus and that woman I am able to be here to write this today. I would love to have lunch with her mostly so I can hear her giggles, shower her with kisses and get her squash casserole recipe. Also, not in that order.

Where do you volunteer at One United? You will find me at the check-in desk...so make sure to come by and say "Hi"! I also volunteer working with the 12th grade small group...they are some of my favorite people!

Why do you choose to work with teenagers? I started working with the youth department when my daughter moved up from the children's department. I stayed because I absolutely love your kids. I am an only child, and grew up knowing that I would have a ton of kids when I got older. It just so happened that God gave me one at home, and more than I can count outside of my home. There is not a day that goes by that I do not become fonder of them. Y'all have some amazing kids, and I am so honored to be able to be a small thread in their lives. 

What would you say to someone who is unsure of volunteering with the youth ministry? I read something recently on facebook that I feel says exactly why you should, "Be who you needed when you were younger". We all were teenagers once. We know the difference someone encouraging can have on a life. You can be that person!  Just  be present. They don't bite, I promise! We would love for you to come and join us! What are you waiting for? C'mon! :)

Leader profile: Paul Walker

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Occupation: Retired Army Officer - Tennis Coach

Favorite Book: Once an Eagle

Favorite Movie: Braveheart, The Godfather, Shawshank Redemption, Forest Gump 

Favorite Album: Eagles: Greatest Hits

Biggest Weakness: Getting things off the top shelf at Publix or not getting "frustrated" with other drivers...TURN SIGNAL!!!  Maybe I procrastinate sometimes...

Where do you volunteer at One United? Part of the Adult Leadership Team and Sunday school teacher.

Why do you choose to work with teenagers? Because I realize that teenagers seldom listen to their parents (not that they'd admit it), but will often listen to another adults who is saying the same thing. It's also important to have a variety of "good voices" speaking to our youth. The right voice at the right time can make all the difference. 

What would you say to someone who is unsure of volunteering with the youth ministry? GET SURE!  These kids are going through some great but tough times and the more positive influences we can throw at them the better!  Yes, YOU have something to offer these kids.  Be yourself, love them, and let them know you'll be there for them during the good the bad and the ugly...Oh Yeah, that's another favorite movie...