Campaign Mission: Support Young Theological Scholars
The mission of the Youth Theological Initiative (YTI) Summer Academy is to cultivate public theologians for the church and world. Every summer, we recruit about 40 rising high school juniors and seniors for a three-week life-changing experience in Christian theological education at Emory University. Our hope is that scholars will embrace theology as a life-long pursuit and find ways to support their ethical and faith commitments as they move along their vocational paths.
Who We Are
For 23 years, YTI has provided both a community and safe space for scholars to grapple with the intersection of faith and social justice. Recruited nationally and internationally through congregations, schools, and YTI alumni, the scholars are selected through an application process. We seek candidates who demonstrate a strong academic profile and a desire to be challenged spiritually and intellectually. We also strive for gender balance, racial/ethnic diversity, and denominational variety. A passion for theology, community, and justice is fostered with thought-provoking courses. The program also focuses on scholar-led preaching and worship, as well as contextual education experiences with Atlanta-area organizations.
Dr. Greg Ellison teaching a class of YTI scholars.
At the YTI Summer Academy, scholars will engage in the following:
- Learning how to analyze and address global issues from Christian theological perspectives.
- Exploring quality theological literature, including classics of the Christian faith tradition, the Bible, and other resources.
- Asking tough theological questions in a supportive community.
- Joining with adult participants in shaping and being accountable to a residential covenant community.
- Experiencing a variety of ways to worship together as an ecumenical group, including worship with local Christian congregations and other religious communities.
- Volunteering with Atlanta community organizations to address food insecurity, ecological degradation, welcoming refugees resettling in Georgia, and working to help end homelessness and incarceration.
Scholars testing water with a local organization that focuses on environmental issues and ecological degradation.
Why your support matters
As alumni and friends of the program, there remains tremendous opportunity for you to play an important role in making this experience possible for current and future scholars. Your gift will help provide crucial program support and financial aid that makes YTI possible for scholars. We are grateful to our generous donors who participated in the 2015 inaugural crowdfunding campaign. YTI raised more than $12,000 (including matching funds) in just three weeks!
“For me, YTI opened many doors that have shaped me in my spiritual walk as a young adult in college. Not only do I have a YTI family to lean on when I am in need of guidance or support, but I also find that my experiences during YTI opened my eyes to the social injustices of the world and the ways in which we all play a part in making a difference.” —2014 Scholar Aleia Ringel 17OX
Three former YTI scholars are donating $3,000 as a challenge to help us meet our target goal. YTI would like to thank Jermaine Freeman, Sara Toering 06L 06T, and Will Fairbourn for their generous $1,000 challenge donations.