Serious contemplation of vocation did not occur for Delight Yokley until her senior year of high school, when she decided to slacken her course load a little and take an easier level social studies class. The teacher realized that Delight was not being challenged and promoted her to an advanced placement course; Delight believes this “was a life-changing event.” Because of that teacher’s insight, Delight realized her passion for history, and by the time she entered Messiah as an incoming student, she adds, “I couldn’t think of being anything else but a history teacher.”
Delight’s college experience reflects the values and interests that would influence her career path and lead her to her current vocation. She values her involvement with Phi Omega Chi, a multicultural organization committed to promoting diversity and dissolving cultural barriers. She also was involved with ISA/MK (International Students/Missionary Kids Association), another initiative devoted to cultural education and support for students of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Although she appreciates her time in Grantham, Delight calls the year she spent off campus “the best year in her college experience.” During her senior year she took advantage of two off-campus study opportunities: a study abroad program with Daystar University in Nairobi and a semester at Temple University through MCPC (Messiah’s Philadelphia campus). “Daystar,” she explains, “really opened the world up for me. I was doing mostly work for my minor [urban studies] in community development there, and it really geared me for service. Daystar was a blessing.” Her time in Kenya inspired her to continue her engagement with the world outside Grantham with MCPC.
Delight believes that out of everything she has taken from her college experience, Messiah’s emphasis on serving our world and our community has made the most prominent imprint on her life. She elaborates, “Everything that I did [at Messiah] helped me to understand that serving people is so important
, from the way professors taught to the service projects through the residence halls – telling me that this is what I should be doing. Find a way to get paid to serve. All of the positions I have held since graduation have been in service.”
Another important concept Delight learned at Messiah is that one’s major does not necessarily determine one’s vocation: “Messiah gives you such a well-rounded education,” she explains, “You don’t need a particular field to do what you want to do in life.” As Delight’s career path has shown, the education provided by a liberal arts institution like Messiah provides a set of skills that will be transferable to any vocation, regardless of major.
While at the Philadelphia campus her senior year, Delight researched potential job openings on the internet, and while she did find a ministry that appealed to her, it had no openings. Delight, subsequently, held a number of jobs that inspired her in a somewhat antithetical way: by telling her what she did not
In a lesson she describes as God’s timing, Delight explains, “Now I knew what I didn’t
want to do, but I still didn’t have direction. The only thing that kept coming back up was the ministry position [found on the internet]. I reapplied and got a teaching job.” Through her position with New Horizons Youth Ministries, Delight realized that teaching was what she wanted to do, and she knew that to continue she would need a master’s degree with teaching certification.
Delight values the contact she made with one of her advisers, Dr. E. Morris Sider, who she has called on many times as a reference. “I’ve been out of college for 10 years,” she explains, “and on multiple occasions he has written such amazing references that have opened doors for me.” Delight also appreciates the support she received from Tyrone Wrice, then director of multicultural programs, who, she says, “provided the support that kept me at Messiah.” He not only encouraged her to look into study abroad options at Daystar but also inspired her through his position at the college. In her current vocation, Delight strives to provide the same support for minority students as Tyrone did for her - “to model for someone else what someone modeled to me when I was an undergraduate.”
• Get an internship
• Make sure you have career experience before leaving college
• Live so that you are transforming your life. Ask: “How can I be transformative?”
Since graduation, Delight has worked exclusively through various faith-based initiatives. Teaching social studies for New Horizons not only reaffirmed her passion for teaching but also showed her that she appreciates “an atypical classroom structure – it helps mold students, make them more well-rounded.” Through New Horizons, Delight worked with students with behavioral problems, most of whom were incredibly poor. She saw her vocation as an act of service, and, moreover, she was inspired by the children she taught.
After New Horizons and a subsequent teaching position, she explains, “I knew I wanted to be in education. But did I want to stand in front of a classroom and teach? No. I realized that education doesn’t always happen in a classroom.” As the director of college diversity at Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Delight organizes initiatives to promote diversity and cultural awareness. She fulfills her passion for education by teaching a course, and also serves as part of a support system for minority students on campus. She feels that her current position “is a great way to be involved in education, but also involved in service and being supportive to minority students.”
“To this day,” Delight maintains, “there is still questioning. But it never had to do with my field of study. I don’t believe that your field of study determines what you will do in life. In choosing the jobs that I have taken, it has always been about ‘Can I see myself doing this? Am I going to enjoy doing it?’ Pay is the last thing I worry about. And then when I realize that I’m not enjoying it anymore, I move on.” Delight asserts that “when you become restless, that’s when you know that God is calling you elsewhere.”
Like many alums pursuing their vocation, Delight finds that her days are anything but typical. She spends most mornings organizing her various tasks, but she could spend the rest of her day “either doing a program, planning a program, coordinating a speaker coming to campus, addressing student issues, or spending time with students.” Along with monitoring the progress and experiences of multicultural students, Delight coordinates speakers, both for classroom lectures and co-curricular programs, to come to the college and address a particular issue concerning diversity. She also coordinates the “Dinner for 12” initiative, in which topics of social justice and diversity are addressed in an informal setting. As a resident director for a male residence hall, Delight also has a considerable amount of responsibilities greeting her when she returns home each night. “The jobs tend to run together,” she explains. Her favorite part of her position at Kings is the time she spends getting to know students, whether in her office with students who stop by to talk and hang out or in her hall with her residents.
Delight experiences the greatest sense of fulfillment in her vocation when she is able to make a difference in a student’s life. “I think that I do what I do because of the students,” she observes. “Students come in and are struggling, and they feel alone, like they are the only ones on campus. I am able to guide them somewhere, and sometimes I don’t even realize it until they come back and say ‘I made it through the year because of that one thing you said.’ I see that things I am able to say and do, that I would consider minor, can make a big difference.” Delight also felt reaffirmed in her vocation through “A Woman’s Initiative,” a mentoring organization for women in a professional environment – students submitted essays about women who inspire them, and Delight was flattered and somewhat surprised when several students listed her as a significant role model.
Followers of Christ, Delight believes, can serve God “in everything!” She explains, “For one, I serve God by living a life that for most people, is not how they’re used to living,” and she adds, “How I treat people, how I listen when everybody else isn’t listening, how I show patience when others get upset . . . I don’t always have the opportunity to open up a Bible, but in the way that I treat my students and serve them, God shows through.” She recalls Matthew 25:34-40, in which the Lord says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” She believes that we serve the Lord by serving the least among us.
Delight’s ultimate goal is “to be always looking for the way God desires me to serve, always willing to go somewhere new. I strive to not become complacent in any circumstance, so that I am always willing to move on if God wants me to go.” She remembers in graduate school, “I always wanted someone to tell me when I was no longer good at what I was doing. When you are no longer good at it, right for it, then you need to know that it is time to move on. I always want to be able to do that – to not be so content because of money I’m making, security, etc., that I can’t see what God is telling me. And then, of course, there is the other side of that, which is not moving on before He is willing to move me.” She endeavors always to remember her namesake verse, Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Profile by TIffany DeRewal, October 2006