By Megan Stroud
De’Onte Garrett (’17), program director for Timothy Hill’s residential program in Tennessee, helps men from the ages of 17 to 25 develop independent living skills and workforce training. He visited Timothy Hill residential program in New York for the first time as a student during a spring break mission trip and instantly discovered his passion for the mission and opportunity to work with young men.
“While working with the young men in New York, I feel like God assigned me my mission, which is to break the cycle of the fatherless home,” Garrett said. “I look back on my journey growing up without my father. I realized it took the help of male role models in my life to teach me how to be a man. I truly felt obligated to give that back to the fatherless of the world today.”
Timothy Hill is a nonprofit organization that helps youth, young adults and guests develop mentally, physically, socially and spiritually through retreat centers in Tennessee and Massachusetts and residential programs in New York, Tennessee and Arkansas.
“When we help these young men develop into leaders, fathers and pillars in their communities, we change lives beyond their own,” Garrett said. “Our world is sadly getting used to the idea of a fatherless home, and I intend to do as much as I can while I’m here to fight against that idea.”
After learning from his mentors on the football team and graduating with his degree in Bible and family ministry, he moved to New York with his wife to begin working at Timothy Hill. In June 2019, he moved to Tennessee to work at Timothy Hill’s residential program there.
“Being a part of the football team, the brotherhood, made a huge difference for me,” Garrett said. “All of the coaches were great role models. Coach Huck basically directed me to the Bible department. Coach Simmons was my defensive line coach, and he showed us, taught us and held us accountable to being real men. He has this warrior mentality in him that he holds us all accountable to, and I wouldn’t have made it this far without that mentality driven in me.”