Late 1980’s

Emerald Avenue UMC begins a summer outreach ministry with youth in Knoxville's Oakwood/Lincoln Park community. The ministry grows, focusing on serving youth after-school and during the summer.

Early 1990’s

To impact more urban young people and raise the necessary support, the ministry is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization and becomes known as Emerald Youth Foundation.

Mid 1990’s

Emerald Youth Foundation continues to serve youth in Oakwood/Lincoln Park. Locations in East Knoxville and Beaumont/Western Heights.

Late 1990’s

JustLead, the flagship program of Emerald Youth Foundation, is launched. JustLead is based on Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets.

Early to Mid 2000’s

Emerald Youth Foundation begins testing the replication of JustLead into locations throughout Knoxville.

Late 2000’s

The JustLead Network is developed. It is a group of 21 churches and faith-based organizations that offer JustLead to youth in neighborhoods across the city.


The JustLead Network serves more than 1,350 children and youth each year from 14 urban neighborhoods.