New Kid on the Block
Amy Bode

Cassidy Block, Timothy’s 2023 Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year, wants every student she comes into contact with to feel seen and loved. At twenty-nine years old, she has a heart for students a decade younger than her. “I just want kids to feel seen and to know that Jesus loves them,” she said. 

Today, Cassidy works at Timothy as a jack-of-all-trades. She coaches, helps with the worship band, teaches a math lab, tutors, volunteers with Young Life, and even helps out with spirit wear. If you met Cassidy in the hallways between classes, you might actually mistake her for a current student. She blends in seamlessly and is perpetually surrounded by kids. This presence, or “availability” as Cassidy put it, is intentional and purposely relational. 

Cassidy is like a magnet for students. They want to be around her. From the outside, it could look like it’s because of her bubbly personality. She knows everyone’s name (and their interests), she asks questions about their day, and she has an uncanny ability to zero in on issues that plague this generation, like depression and anxiety. However, Cassidy would claim that it’s because of Jesus Christ. “I know that God wants me to pour into this generation and love on them,” she said. “I want to be someone who is walking with them and offering them hope.” 

I want these kids to know to their very core that Jesus is faithful.

Cassidy graduated from Timothy Christian, but her journey to Timothy was anything but typical. Her parents were missionaries in Nairobi, Kenya for the majority of her childhood. In the middle of her 8th grade year, her family moved back to the United States, so Cassidy started at Timothy mid-year. 

Middle school presents its own challenges for just about any kid in a normal school year. But transferring in the middle of a school year from a foreign country brings its own challenges - namely the worry of making friends and fitting in. “I’ve moved a lot, and I’ve had to go into new spaces,” Cassidy remembered. “So I know what it feels like to be overlooked—not because kids were being mean, but because they already had friends— and to go into new spaces thinking, ‘I hope someone loves me.’” Her experience with moving and finding herself in new places is a big reason she has a heart to make sure every student feels seen.  

Cassidy ended up getting plugged in at Timothy fairly quickly by playing sports. Daily practices and games made making friends an easier process for her. She always played sports as she was competitive by nature and also enjoyed the camaraderie found in the team aspect of the game. Additionally, she was blessed with numerous coaches who became mentors to her on and off the court. 

Cassidy’s involvement in sports throughout her middle school and high school years had a profound impact on her. “I can remember my high school coach, DK (high school PE/Health teacher Ryan DeKoekkoek), bringing our varsity basketball team down to help with the middle school kids,” Cassidy recalled. “That was a huge moment for me. I started to uncover my love for coaching and my desire to pour into kids who were younger than me.” 

Cassidy graduated from Timothy Christian High School in 2012. After attending Hope College for one year, she then transferred to Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. She played basketball throughout college while earning a BA in Organizational Leadership, as well as an MBA and a MAML (Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership). After graduation she headed to California with her best friend from college. While living there, she was able to help coach various high school sports teams. “I knew then, that this is what I wanted to do,” Cassidy said; “I just love coaching and the relational aspect of it.” 

In 2018, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she had no plans to leave California, she wanted to be back in Chicagoland to support her mom through chemo. So she moved back home. Driving alone across the country gives you a lot of time to think and pray. “As I was driving, I was just talking to God and admitted that I was going to really miss coaching.” Shortly after arriving home, she was invited to help out with the Timothy Christian girls’ basketball program. “I was like, 1000% yes! I want that job,” Cassidy remembered. 

Cassidy Block accepts her award from Dr. Mitchell at the End of the Year Celebration on May 20.

As her mom healed, Cassidy was able to devote more time to working at Timothy. Coaching was her sweet spot. Being around the girls every day gave Cassidy the opportunity to intentionally get to know them and do life with them. “At Timothy, I can talk about Jesus and also help the girls understand that their worth is not found in sports or their performance. I know how easy that is because that’s my story, too.” 

Cassidy prays that each student knows Jesus personally - that they aren’t Christians simply because of their parents, or because they attend a Christian school. She wants them to experience Jesus for themselves. “I want these kids to know, to their very core, that Jesus is faithful.” 

This is why Cassidy was chosen as Timothy’s Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year. She lives out Timothy’s mission every single day. 

Even though Cassidy loves Timothy and views the girls she coaches as her “little sisters,” she’s made the tough decision to step away next year. She recently accepted a job at a local training facility for middle and high school athletes. Although Timothy will always be “home” to Cassidy, she feels like God is challenging her to extend her reach to students beyond the Timothy community. She is excited to share Jesus with students who might not have the opportunity to hear about Him consistently. 

“God has really challenged me and my faith,” she said. “And as I share my life with people, hopefully they’ll see that Jesus is the foundation of it. I can’t really talk about things that are important to me without Him coming up. So I feel like it’s just going to be a great opportunity to build relationships with kids who don’t hear about Jesus on a daily basis.”

Cassidy will still be a part of the Timothy community, as she will continue to volunteer with Young Life and will undoubtedly be seen hanging out with students while cheering on the athletes from the sidelines. 

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