Thoughts From Our Intern

October 13th, 2017

I blink and a month at the Bethlehem Center has already flown by. And what a welcoming, awesome, and opportunistic month it has been! Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Morgan Reeves and I am a student at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. I’m currently working on my bachelor’s degree in social work with the intentions of graduating in May. After graduation, I plan on pursing a master’s degree in non-profit management. As a part of my senior year curriculum, I will be interning to gain real world experience, and I couldn’t have picked a better place to do that  other than at the Beth.    

In the last month, I have already learned so much. I am seeing what all it takes to run and operate a non-profit by being included in education, development, marketing, project planning, and fundraising meetings. I have also experienced and will continue to work in the Read to Lead Academy. What a blessing it is that children in the community have a safe place to go after-school where they can learn, grow, and have fun. Not only is the Read to Lead Academy an enjoyable place for the children, but it’s that for the staff as well. The Beth staff enjoys loving on the younger kids and cracking jokes with the older ones all while building meaningful relationships with each and every child. I love watching the staff collaborate as one huge thinking tank in the weekly staff meetings. One of the many things that the Beth has going for them is the ability to work so great with each other. It’s interesting how each department contributes different components that are vital to the operation of this non-profit. Other learning experiences I’ve had the privilege to assist with include: the Annual Fish Fry hosted by Ooltewah United Methodist Church, Parking Day, UTC Public Service Fair, Morning Manna, B.L.U. program planning, and the South Chattanooga Community Assessment. After taking part in all of the above my first month, I can only imagine the opportunities that have yet to come. 

My favorite part of being an intern is learning from the children in the community. Each child is unique in his or her own way. Getting to know and work with each child has absolutely been the highlight of my internship so far. While I am able to teach these children about a wide range of different things, they are teaching me more than they will ever realize. Recently,  Ms. Rachel, the Education Director,  and I were able to take two of the Read to Lead students to the Hunter Museum. SPLASH, a youth art workshop, had an exhibit with our students’ artwork displayed. It was awesome to see how happy and proud our students were that their art was on display for many to see at a huge museum like the Hunter. We showed the kids other exhibits during our visit as well. They were so fascinated and inspired with the artwork. Hearing their interpretations verses my own was quite remarkable. They saw things in a totally different light. Taking the students on this trip was definitely a memorable experience.  

When my year at The Beth comes to a close, I hope that I’m able to walk away knowing that I gave my all to this community. I want to leave an impact, no matter how small that impact may be. I hope the children will be able to say, “Hey, that Ms. Morgan girl loved us,” and if I’m lucky maybe they’ll say I was cool too. I hope this experience at the Beth enables me to be a better social worker in other communities. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to spend my internship here and with the people of this community. 

Morgan Reeves

Morgan is a senior at UTC planning to graduate with a degree in social work. She is currently the social work intern at the Bethlehem Center and loves getting to know youth in the Alton Park community. In her free time she enjoys antique shopping, hanging with friends, and playing volleyball.

Posted by The Beth | Topic: Community

Community Highlight:

September 21st, 2017

Lessons Learned Through a Community Assessment

In July 2017, the Bethlehem Center joined forces with Covenant College’s departments of Economics and Community Development, and Bridge City Community Church to help us get to know the families we want to serve in South Chattanooga.

Our survey is called the South Chattanooga Community Assessment. Since the planning process began in December 2016, I have been blown away by both Covenant College and Bridge City’s unreserved support month in and month out.

Anna Rannou, the Internship/ Practicum Coordinator for the departments of Economics and Community Development is heading the assessment for us on a volunteer basis. Just last week Anna took a team of 3 Covenant students/ alums to the Alton Place apartments from about 4:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., where she met with and surveyed residents who live in that community. Anna didn’t have to do it, but she did, and she chose to do it with a bubbly attitude and huge smile.

This is just one example of the time that Anna has dedicated to the project since December 2016. It has shown me just how much the Bethlehem Center can accomplish when individuals share their skills with the Bethlehem Center.

Anna’s skill is implementing surveys from start to finish and because of her we are collecting data that can inform the programs we offer here at the Bethlehem Center.

But there’s a big picture and that’s this - partnerships matter. Nonprofit’s like ours benefit so much from a few committed individuals or corporations who are willing to give their skills, time, or donations. If you are passionate about the work of the Bethlehem Center, what is one area in which you can make a commitment that can help us change lives here in South Chattanooga?

 It could be volunteering your skill, a monthly donation, volunteering in the Read to Lead Academy, or praying for the Beth! It’s commitments like these that make a big difference for organizations like ours, and I learned this through the dedication of partners like Covenant College and Bridge City Community Church.

Gloria Dubose 

Gloria is now the Projects & Marketing Manager at The Bethlehem Center. She started at the Beth as an unpaid intern and she's been here ever since doing everything from administration to event planning and social media.
She's a proud Moc (UTC alumni) passionate about learning everything Latin (including Spanish).
To connect with Gloria email [email protected]

Posted by The Beth

Summer Program Highlight:

August 23rd, 2017

Bethlehem Jump STArt Camp

As summer ends, the Beth looks back at Bethlehem Jump STArt camp with a sense of accomplishment. We couldn't be more proud of our Director of Education, Rachel DeVore, for giving her all to the program. 

Mrs. Rachel’s face lit up as she talked about a couple of campers who she witnessed grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally over the summer. She explained how different learning expeditions provided many new experiences for the kids. When they visited the aquarium, a child named Marlon had his first encounter with a shark.

 “The shark came right up to the glass and little Marlon ran off screaming,” Mrs. Rachel laughed. “For Marlon to come face to face with something bigger than himself was a chance for him to grow even though the experience was a little scary.”  

Marlon saw a lot of new animals that brought a smile to his face and his trip to the Aquarium allowed him to expand his knowledge of God’s awesome creation. Mrs. Rachel believes exposing our campers to new things will help them as adults. Marlon’s visit to the aquarium might one day spark a new interest that can lead him to get a degree in marine biology. The possibilities created by our learning expeditions are limitless!

Mrs. Rachel mentioned another camper named Maya. Over the summer, Maya improved her self-control and learned to respond more positively to situations she didn’t like. Her positive attitude was rewarded periodically with pretend money called Beth Bucks that our kids can spend at the Beth Store. The Beth Store is a collection of toys, snacks, games, and more that the children can buy. 

Most of our kids quickly spend their Beth bucks, but Maya saved hers in order to purchase an X Box 360. It cost over 100 Beth bucks and took a few weeks of saving. Maya’s demonstration of self discipline was impressive.
“Maya was so proud of her new game that she carried the display box with her for the entire day,” Mrs. Rachel grinned.

Seeing the kids grow into more confident individuals is what makes Mrs. Rachel and our teaching staff so passionate about our Read to Lead and summer programs.
“We at the Beth need to be the ones they can talk to and laugh with,” Mrs. Rachel said. “We need to be their encouragers and show them how a positive mindset can lead to positive changes.”  

We are thankful for Mrs. Rachel’s dedication to our kids and for providing them with a safe haven where they can become their best selves. It’s because of staff members like her that our kids are inspired to believe that they’re capable of having a bright future.

Shari J. Watson

Shari is a UTC graduate with a background in music and writing and is currently the Marketing Assistant at the Bethlehem Center.  
She enjoys being out in nature, laughing with friends, eating Chinese food, and traveling as much as she can. 

Posted by The Beth

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