New Candler alumnus Dominique Lester 16T (pictured above left with 2016 YTI scholars) reflects on his three summers as a mentor for the Youth Theological Initiative (YTI), which brings forty rising high school juniors and seniors to the Emory campus for three weeks of Christian theological education taught by Candler faculty and guided by Candler students. Established in 1993, YTI has now enrolled more than 1,000 youth from across the U.S. and around the world.
I got involved with the Youth Theological Initiative during the fall of 2013, my first year at Candler. I worked as a program assistant for Dr. Beth Corrie, and was responsible for sending out recruitment materials and information. I wasn't quite sure of the depth of YTI until prospective scholars began sending in questions, stopping by the office and reaching out to learn more about the program. It was then I recognized that I wanted to be a part of it. Many of my good friends were Candler alumni who served as mentors, exploratory leaders and other important leadership roles for YTI, and they spoke highly of the program and how, in many ways, it helped shaped their ministry. YTI alumni and staff are like a fraternity; once you have it, it is in your heart forever.