On paper, Yedea H. Walker’s role as pastoral resident is to provide pastoral care on campus and, specifically, at the Charlotte Rachel Wilson (CRW) apartments. In practice, this newly created position is about so much more.
“Meeting pastoral needs also includes facilitating a sense of community,” Walker says. That’s why she and her daughter live at CRW, and part of her role is to offer programming that brings residents out of their apartments, to get to know one another as neighbors and friends.
Some successful events have included a blessing of the animals to introduce pet owners to one another, a vision board party for kids beginning the new school year, Christmas cookie decorating, and a Valentine’s Day happy hour with free childcare. The common denominator is that these events cater not just to students but also their spouses and families, “since they are an important part of our community who deserve to be recognized too,” Walker says. As a single mother, she knows a bit about balancing daytime schoolwork with evening mom duty, and that’s why her events take place on nights and weekends, when families are available to spend time together.
On campus, Walker’s open-door policy as well as her welcoming and friendly presence help her make connections with those in need of pastoral support. Topics of conversation range from discerning the call to family experiences. Some students she sees regularly. Others she’s seen just once or twice. Regardless, she’s available to all. “People just want to be seen and heard, and so many feel they aren’t,” she says. “That’s my lesson, takeaway, heartbreak, and purpose. To help them feel that they are.”