Recent Alumni Featured as Young Life Volunteer Spotlight

June 7, 2016

2016 Graduate and recent Student to Watch, Emily Deadman, was featured as Young Life's Volunteer Spotlight this week! 

Pic - Liv

Today we’re bringing back the Volunteer Spotlight with a glimpse into Young Life leader Emily Deadman’s story. Emily is a volunteer leader in the Northeast Grand Rapids area and graduated this May from Kuyper College with a degree in Intercultural Studies and TESOL. Thanks, Emily, for writing and sharing your #YLstory with us.

I started attending Young Life my sophomore year of high school, after much prodding. Back then, I really didn’t want anything to do with Christians, but a cute boy invited me to club, so I eventually gave in to his constant invitations.

My first club was an amazing experience; I can still remember the skit and the warm welcome I received. However, when it came time for the club talk I completely zoned out.

People shared with me how Christ was at work in their lives. I told them that I was doing fine without him and didn’t need anybody else, at least that’s the way I had been living.

Despite my desire to know God, I continued to attend Young Life. It definitely had something to do with that cute boy, but in reality, it was because I saw that adults cared for me, which was something that seemed foreign.

From the moment I stepped into club back in 2008 until now, Young Life has been a great community of care and love. It was through the loving relationships that I developed with leaders that I realized the love of Jesus. Through their continued pursuit, I recognized that something had to be going on—they cared for and loved me because Jesus did. Because of them, I was invited to things like church, campaigners, camp, work crew and summer staff.

After taking a year off from Young Life my first year at community college in Chicago, I transferred to Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, where I got involved with YL again as a volunteer leader. As I learned what it was like to be on the other side of the coin—leading instead of being led—I was asked to co-team lead at Forest Hills Northern High School.

Through my experience as a team leader, I learned what it meant to not only care for high school students, but also what it means to care for leaders. I recognized my own gifts as well as some weaknesses, and began to recognize what it means to be healthy while doing ministry.

My junior year at Kuyper, I was gifted with the opportunity to be on Young Life’s student staff, which only furthered my Young Life knowledge and helped me grow in my leadership. Through that experience, I was able to get a behind the scenes look at Young Life from an administrative perspective.

While on student staff, I started to think about staying with Young Life long term. One late night search on the Young Life job openings page caught my attention: international teacher staff.

Over the past year and a half, I have been pursuing this opportunity and I am pleased to say that, Lord willing, in September I will be going to the Czech Republic to work for Young Life in Prague.

I can’t imagine my life without God’s amazing tool of Young Life. It has been a constant setting of community, love, grace and growth for me over the past nine years. Young Life holds such a special place in my heart.

My time in Northeast Grand Rapids has not only grown my love for Young Life but also for the Lord. I have felt loved and cared for by the community of staff, leaders, families and students; this area has grown so dear to my heart.

It’s crazy to look back on the past ten years and see how much change and growth has happened, much of which I attribute to God’s hand through Young Life. To think that a 14-year-old girl who wanted nothing to do with Jesus and made fun of Christians, would a few years later be going on staff with Young Life International leaves me speechless.

God is so good. I am so thankful for Young Life and the ways in which it has opened my eyes to that goodness.


Emily has served Young Life of Northeast Grand Rapids for the past three years. Area Director Kaitlin Huissen has appreciated how “Emily serves with deep, abundant, and contagious joy, and people gravitate towards her because of that joy. She is a leader among leaders and pursues kids and leaders passionately and selflessly because she so desperately wants them to know and experience the love of Jesus. Although she will be greatly missed in Northeast GR, we are blessed to have learned from her and excited to have her share the love of Christ in Prague!”

Read the original story here.