Morgan Yeargan has her traditional family: a mother, father and two brothers. Then she has her One7 family, which consists of staff members, volunteers and like-minded teenagers who serve the urban youth ministry in uptown Charlotte.
Yeargan, 15, is a freshman at Charlotte Christian School. Like most girls her age, the Providence Plantation resident juggles schoolwork, a social life and her commitment to the Knights softball team.
But when other teens are calling it a day, Yeargan heads to One7 to tutor and mentor kids enrolled in the religion-based program.
"I like helping others," Yeargan said. "One7 has kids that are my age group, and I think that it's cool to hang out and help them learn in school and play games with them."
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One7 is an center-city ministry founded in 2008 by David Garrett, a former member of the Charlotte Eagles soccer team, who one time worked for Forest Hill Church in south Charlotte. The group that reaches out to youths and families across cultures, giving them a place to congregate, study and socialize. The name comes from Jeremiah 1:4-7, which influenced Garrett as he followed his spiritual path to ministry.
Garrett's program serves more than 100 pre-teens and teens who have come to Charlotte from Africa, Vietnam , Burma, Mexico and El Salvador.
Yeargan said she thinks it's easier for the kids in One7 to relate to her as a mentor because of their similarities in age.
At the same time, she also said it can be difficult to bond with the One 7 kids because, as she puts it, "they don't have much time with me."
Yeargan spends a minimum of two nights a week at One7.
"I like going there. I go every Tuesday," she said. "That's when we go tutoring uptown. On Thursday, we go to an (apartment complex) where many members live. And then on Saturdays, we'll all go to Elevation (Church) together."
According to One7's Web site, the organization hosts sports ministry sessions Tuesdays and outreach programs Wednesdays. Yeargan said she routinely participates in sports, educational activities, homework sessions, music programs and focused tutoring classes with the One7 kids. Sunday mornings, Yeargan volunteers her time at a nursery.
It's no surprise Yeargan is being recognized nationally for her local work.
She recently received a state-level Certificate of Excellence from the 2010 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, as well as a President's Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes Americans who have volunteered significant amounts of time to serve their communities and country.
But Yeargan isn't volunteering for the recognition; she said she thinks these volunteer efforts pull her immediate family members closer together. She and her family made two trips to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana.