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Cassaundra talks about her introduction to Young Life as a high school student. She wanted to be seen as the church girl, but she was not feeling it.
She talks about how she hid her bad choices. She had a Young Life chapter in her high school, but she really didn’t find out about it until years later.
She graduated and received a scholarship to the University of Nebraska/Lincoln but for only one semester, when she received a scholarship to Grambling State University and her father gave her a mandate. She was not to date an athlete, but the first person she met was her husband to be Jonathan Banks. They have been married for 17 years.
After Grambling, she was studying for her LSAT with the intent to make tons of money. However, she took a job at a large church and the youth pastor there invited her and her husband to a Young Life banquet and that was her introduction.
They did not have money to give to Young Life, but they had time to be volunteer leaders that night at the banquet. Jonathan and Cassaundra decided to give their time and talent. So, they took the training to become servant leaders.
Then she had an epiphany one night and she asked God to give her an opportunity to work with Young Life. Her first role was as a community outreach coordinator.
She started to attend the Monday Night Young Life Club and meeting the young adolescents. She built relationships with the youth and brought her first young lady named Ashland to Young Life.
She then talks about her first Young Life Camp as a Leader which is very much resort-like instead of the typical summer camp with cabins and tents. The Camp was full of laughter, enthusiasm and some tears.
That first camp experience of moving youth from death to spiritual life, made her realize Young Life was where she wanted to be.
Cassaundra and Tom then circle back and talk about how far Ashland changed throughout the years to become a Young Life high school participant to a Youth Leader and then adult leader. It was amazing how she change, how she grew in her love of Christ and how she began sharing Christ with others.
Tom and Cassaundra then talked about her law career. God showed her that was not the way He wanted her to go and she started getting involved working at her church, then the Urban League, and she began to ask them questions as a she would as a Young Life leader. She eventually went back to her original church, and that is where she met Tom Pruden who asked her to interview as the Young Life area director in Omaha, Nebraska. She prayed and listened to the Lord, and she felt he was leading her to ministry. Two weeks later she became the area director of Young Life.
Cassaundra then talked about that first position in Young Life and how rewarding and difficult it was leading a team. She then worked developing new leaders and how rewarding it was to bring other along.
Then Cassaundra talked about being a Young Life director and having children and then while still in Omaha, her and her husband entered into the foster care system and adopted two children. Now, she has four children and a family of six.
Tom and Cassaundra then talked about moving to the Gateway region to become the St. Louis area leader. She then explains was the Gateway Region encompasses. It’s a large region and spread out and because of that the local board and is very important and the leadership team in a large region becomes really significant.
She then explains how Young Life develops kids with first an introduction to jesus Christ and helping them realize God’s vision for their life into servant leaders.
Then, they talked about the challenges and barriers they face especially post-pandemic. Though there are no physical masks any longer, she feels many children are masked behind racial, socio-economic, and physical barriers.
Tom and Cassaundra talk about how they need people to get involved in the organization, first as volunteers, share their lives with these kids.
Then, they wrap up and talk about future podcasts.
Cassaundra’s LinkedIn Profile Link:
Tom Pruden’s Linked In Profile Link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-pruden-4584168/
Young Life National Website Link: https://younglife.org/get-involved/for-every-kid/
Gateway Young Life Facebook Link:
Young Life, Changed Lives is a production of Family Vision Media, a non-profit ministry committed to helping Christian parents discern the truth in a culture of lies.
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