This last week has been jarring, to say the least. While everyone is discussing quarantine and social distancing, our Read to Lead students and their families have different anxieties accompanying this change of routine. “What about school? What about my friends? What about food? What are we going to do?” are a few questions that I am sure has passed through the minds of our kids, many of whom live in food-insecure households. Since our students are no longer in school, they aren’t receiving meals that they typically would during school hours. 



The Director of Education at the Bethlehem Center, Rachel DeVore, deeply understands this reality. That is why when the Hamilton County School District announced that all schools would be closed until late March (later changed to April 13th), she sprung into action. She contacted all of her Read to Lead staff expressing how we need a plan to feed our kids. After calling, texting, and posting on Facebook for food donations, we were able to get the financial and donation support needed to kickstart our Beth snack pack program. 




Each snack pack contains a sandwich, vegetables, fruit, and granola bars/crackers. We deliver these daily to students. We also provide transportation for students to access food provided by the Hamilton County School System. On Wednesdays, we provide hot meals for Read to Lead families. As of 3/23/2020 we have distributed 422 meals to families and 213 prepared meals (breakfast, lunch, and snack) to our students. We are also making phone calls to ensure families have certain resources needed in their households. In addition, we are using Zoom web-based video calls to check on our students and to read them stories.




For our kids, consistency is everything. We aren’t sure when everything will be back to normal, but we do know that COVID-19 does not and will not stand in the way of caring for our kids and serving our Beth families

If you would like to support our relief efforts, please visit our donation page on our website, select a donation amount, and choose “ COVID-19 Relief Efforts” as the designated gift. We appreciate any help you can give to our students and their families at this time!


Grace Miller

Grace earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. She is currently working towards graduating with her Master’s from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in May 2020. 

Posted by The Beth

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Social-Emotional Learning with Ms. Grace

Hello! My name is Grace Miller, and I’m the  Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Interventionist at the Bethlehem Center. Since August of this year, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to connect with students in our Read to Lead Academy on a deeper level. My hope is that through the SEL program, we can give our  Beth students the tools they need to be socially and emotionally mature as they move into adulthood.

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My job at the Beth is to oversee students who need additional support.  I provide individual check-ins on Mondays and four emotional-education groups on Thursdays.  It’s not unusual for there to be at least one or two kids who enter our building completely distraught. If a child is overwhelmed, upset, confused, or just needs a break from all of the chaos, my job is to provide a place for them to process their thoughts and feelings in safe and healthy ways. 

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Since I started seeing these students, the Read to Lead staff has seen improvement in kids who’ve been stereotyped as “problem” children in the past. What our SEL program has proven and is continuing to prove is that teaching a child certain methods that positively impact his or her emotional and social growth, will lead to a dramatic difference in his or her behavior.

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During emotional-education groups, I focus on SEL skills and principles. This semester, two groups are currently focusing on learning what emotions are and how to appropriately express them to others. The other two groups are learning how to manage and regulate their emotions. One benefit from these groups is that we not only get to teach children essential social-emotional life skills, but the kids are also learning what it means to support each other. 

In the four short months of being in this position, it has been so rewarding to witness the students learning and applying these methods. Even when they are upset, they are learning that in the end, things will be okay.  The heart of the SEL program is to help our students learn that even if they can’t control their circumstances, they can control their responses and futures. 

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I feel so thankful to be a part of an agency that creates a lasting hope for the youth of South Chattanooga.  I’m excited to see how the SEL program will continue to impact the kids in our community.


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Grace Miller

Grace earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. She is currently working towards graduating with her Master’s from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in May 2020. 




Posted by The Beth

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Volunteer Highlight: Ms. Bertha


The Bethlehem Center is where I spent most of my time doing co-op hours. These hours helped me meet professional office status for my degree. I didn’t know that there was such a loving and impactful group of individuals that care for the community close to where I live! The people working at the Beth inspire me to give back to my community as well. 


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Coming to the Bethlehem Center was not something that I had planned originally. I was looking for a place to volunteer and God placed me in the perfect setting. I wanted to volunteer at a place that helps uplift the children and families in my community and that’s exactly what the Beth does!

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I worked at the Beth nearly every morning with my preceptor. We focused on a project called Faith & Finances which will help people in the community improve their relationship with God, money, and others. I also answered phone calls and greeted residents looking for services. On occasion, I visited these residents and helped them get rides to the grocery store, taught them how to crochet, and assisted with educational and gardening needs. 

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There are so many different ways to help uplift the community and the Beth does it all! This center is filled with some of the most amazing people. I was able to find people that I relate to. Everyone is filled with life and has such positive attitudes. The Bethlehem Center is a huge blessing to the city of Chattanooga and volunteering there was the best experience ever!


Posted by The Beth

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As we continue our relief efforts to children, families, and adults in South Chattanooga, we are in need of snack items, canned goods, and sanitary products. 

If you would like to help, please visit our donation page, choose an amount to give, and select "COVID-19 Relief Efforts" as the gift designation. 

Thank you for supporting the Beth!