We are excited to share with you all of the fun things that have been going on in the AAW community! We officially started gathering in September and it has been INCREDIBLE to see and experience how the Lord is using AAW to build community for young people in Alcoa!
GATHERING WEEKLY TOGETHER:
On October 13, we had our first official AAW gathering where we invited other students outside of our initial leadership group to come and join our community time. Since that night, our group has continued to grow and it has been so fun to watch new friends get involved and become regulars each week!
A typical Wednesday night consists of sharing a meal together, playing fun group games, then splitting up into our separate girls and guys small groups where we have intentional conversations about the world, our personal lives, and how scripture fits into and impacts all of that. Each small group walks through a Discovery-Based Bible Study which allows students to read and discuss scripture together and gives them the opportunity to discover what they believe about Jesus, the word and how it relates to their personal lives. Along with reading scripture, we want the students to tackle some tough questions about the world and brainstorm ways they can make it a better place, while also becoming the best versions of themselves!
SERVING OUR COMMUNITY TOGETHER:
Along with building community and growing together, we believe it is extremely important for the young people of AAW to give back to their neighborhoods and participate in serving those around them through projects and partnerships with other ministries. We want to be a group that is known for loving and serving our community well!
This semester, our group has served families in Alcoa through several different projects. In November, our students took over Walmart for a night and purchased common food items used to prepare a Thanksgiving meal that were packed into boxes for local families. Along with the food items, our group created encouraging cards and decorated the outside of each box to add a more personal touch. These boxes were distributed to families through the Alcoa Family Resource Office. In our small groups, we created Random Acts of Kindness to leave around the Springbrook neighborhood and Thankful Baskets to be given to teachers who have made impacts on the lives of our students. We also had the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping for a young family in need of some extra support this year!
The amount of love, intentionality and kindness that our group has poured into each of these service opportunities is so inspiring!
This semester, we have focused on building relationships with students and providing fun opportunities to build community. We have done this through incredible small group discussions, serving Alcoa families, tie-dying, pumpkin carving, celebrating Friendsgiving together at the Dulany’s house, Christmas parties and doing life together throughout the week!
AAW has a heart for high school students in Alcoa, but also for young adults who are trying to navigate college, the work force, new families and just life in general. We have plans to begin gathering with young adults once a month for a fun outing, engaging activities and intentional conversations. Our hope is to give young adults a positive and encouraging community to stay connected to!
We have had several young adult gatherings during this semester and it has been a joy to have all of these amazing people all in the same room at the same time! Other ways AAW tries to stay in touch with our young adults is through mailing out/ delivering care packages to our college students just to remind them of how loved they are and that we are thinking about and praying for them always! One of the BEST parts of our high school ministry is watching several of our young adults serve as small group leaders and mentors each week.
We are looking forward to more intentional Young Adult Gatherings in 2022!
The heart of AAW is to partner with and connect our students to local churches, ministries and community leaders who have a heart for the Alcoa community. There are so many AMAZING ministries, organizations and mentors that we want our students to know about and be a part of because the more people who can love on, serve and positively influence the young people in our community THE BETTER!
AAW is teaming up with a couple high school ministries such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Blount County Young Life. Jamie has been able to serve as an Alcoa representative and volunteer for each of these ministries.
FCA meets in the high school each week during their club time and we have the opportunity to attend these meetings and help lead, play games and serve alongside Coach David Baumann, who is the teacher sponsor at the high school. There are around 50 kids who gather for FCA, some already involved in AAW and many new faces who we get to interact with regularly!
Blount County Young Life invited AAW to bring a group of our students to their weekend camp at Sharp Top Cove this month. We had 23 students representing Alcoa High School and we got to spend the weekend having a blast together, but also with students from other local schools. We have also been blessed to have Trey, one of the YL Alcoa reps, attend our Wednesday night gatherings and pour into our young men each week.
We have the desire to continue to grow in these relationships with other ministries along with serving alongside local churches and community leaders in Alcoa.