‘Tis the season of giving, and the Vrabel Young Men’s Collaborative (VYMC) embraced the spirit wholeheartedly by hosting the 2nd annual holiday party for 25 teens in foster care from Jonathan’s Path. The event, held on December 1st, aimed to make a difference in the lives of these young individuals, some of whom are on the cusp of aging out of the foster care system. The evening was filled with heartwarming moments, inspirational stories, and a generous outpouring of support from sponsors.


Once a month a group of young men come together at the home of Coach Mike and Jen Varbel and under the guidance of Licensed Professional Counselor Dean Porterfield discuss life’s challenges. All of these young men come from very different backgrounds, families and experience but are united by the trails of young adulthood.  These young men are reaching out to the next generation providing mentorship and support. 

Azeez Al-Shaair’s Inspiring Journey:

One of the highlights of the evening was a moving speech by NFL player Azeez Al-Shaair, who graciously shared his personal journey from sleeping on the floor and experiencing homelessness to achieving his dream of playing professional football. Al-Shaair’s story resonated deeply with the teens, offering a beacon of hope and motivation for those facing adversity.

Granting Holiday Wishes: One magical moment included the fulfillment of the teens’ holiday wishes. Each participant was surprised with a Nike bag containing a selection of clothes and shoes and gifts specially curated by the VYMC. The joy and gratitude on their faces were palpable.

One 17-year old youth stated “I’ve never had a Christmas like this before in my life. I don’t even know what to say.” “This is making my day,” “It’s a PS3,” “That’s old school, that’s sick,” voiced several of the youth.”I know what I’m doing when I get home. I love it,” said a 13 year old young man.

A letter from Jacob after the event summed up the night perfectly:

In the spirit of the season, the event showcased the transformative power of compassion and community support, leaving a lasting imprint on the hearts of all involved.

Thanks to all the young men in the VYMC, John & Patti Barron, Susanna Quasem, Michael Ladd, TN Titans Facility, Coach Mike & Jen Vrabel and these sponsors: