The Heart of an Executive

August 28th, 2018

The Heart of an Executive

Reginald Smith II has dedicated his life to the well-being of his community. With a background in education and public administration, he has served as Executive Director for the Bethlehem Center for the past three years. Reggie not only performs his executive leadership tasks but he goes above and beyond to fill in where ever he is needed. Whether it’s cleaning bathrooms, replacing light bulbs, or organizing closets, he never hesitates to help. He also takes the time to build relationships with the youth in our programs by taking them to educational events, helping them find jobs, and providing a listening ear. His role at the Beth is one he takes seriously, and he gives his all. 

During his first year as Director, Reggie started the Bethlehem Leadership Unit. BLU is a program for Howard High School students which gives them a platform to share their ideas and solutions for community issues such as poverty, gang violence, and abuse. Reggie believes a program like BLU is essential because society tends to focus on academics and not enough on character development and leadership training. BLU uses a curriculum that includes community service activities, cultural enrichment, and social justice discussions. He states that “education is a prerequisite to success, but character and leadership development are just as necessary.” 

When Reggie is not at the Beth he is serving the community on the Board of Directors for Cempa Community Care. He is also chairman of the Social Action Committee of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. His fraternity brothers volunteer at events around the city such as Shoes for Kids and the Beth’s Nehemiah Project in partnership with Backpack Chattanooga. The Nehemiah Project provided over 6,500 backpacks full of school supplies for Title 1 schools in Hamilton County. At least 90% of these students live in poverty. Reggie considers it an honor to be a part of projects that are actively working to make a positive impact in our city.

Reggie’s focus at the Bethlehem Center is to strengthen current programs so the agency will remain relevant in the community. As South Chattanooga changes, he wants the Beth to continue being a safe haven and a valuable resource for all who enter.  Reggie’s mindset is to “help somebody be greater than what they thought they could be.” His heart for serving others will be his lasting legacy.


Shari J. Watson

Shari is a UTC graduate with a background in music and writing. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator 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

Intern Highlight:

July 26th, 2018

    Community Outreach Director, Gloria Dubose and me!

Life As a Beth Intern

Hey, I’m Charlye! (pronounced Charlie) Since I’m a girl, my parents decided to add a “y” to replace the “i.” Unique...just like me!

I’d like to tell you about my experience as an intern at the Bethlehem Center. This opportunity has helped me gain numerous skills and confidence in pursuing my career goals. Starting out I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to be considered for an intern position. Thankfully this began to change once I enrolled in a communication course for the summer. This was the most exciting class I’d taken so far! I met with my advisor to discuss three possible internships. I chose to apply for the YMCA, News Channel 9, and the Creative Discovery Museum.  My advisor knew me very well and explained that I had not chosen places that supported my career goals. She then mentioned the Bethlehem Center. I had never heard of “The Beth” even though I’ve lived in Chattanooga my whole life.

After meeting with my advisor, I started to research the Beth. As I began to look at their website, I was intrigued. I came across a video on the Get Involved page describing some of the ways that the Beth helps the community. In the video a little girl talks about how a group of students got off their school bus and had to run behind the Bethlehem Center because of a shooting. As a result, the Beth started Morning Manna, a program that allows students to play sports in the gym and hear a short devotional while they wait for their bus. Watching the video helped me realize that I wanted to be a part of this heart warming environment. I knew that the Beth was the place for me to gain professional experience while serving my community.

                        Me with Marketing Manager, Shari Watson

On my first day as the marketing intern, I walked in thinking I would have a step by step guide to lead me through assignments.  Boy was I wrong! I had to design a flyer from scratch and all I was provided with was the information. I panicked a little because I only had a semester of experience in designing. I wasn't sure if I could complete the assignment. After figuring out my target audience and what the event was about, I completed the flyer. I learned how to use my creative freedom and how to implement my ideas without holding back.

          Me with Executive Director, Reginald Smith, II

In addition, the staff has been like a supportive family to me. Many of them made a lasting impact in my life. For instance, Executive Director, Reginald Smith, listened as I talked about my career goals and life experiences. He gave awesome advice and shared some of his visions for the Beth with me. Our conversation has stayed with me as I continue to pursue my career goals. Marketing Manager, Shari Watson, taught me how to be a better writer and how to bring together my scrambled thoughts. Community Outreach Director, Gloria Dubose, helped me get back in touch with my faith and taught me to be adventurous. Development & Admin Coordinator, Jennifer Johnson, always had a big, bright smile on her face and talked about her amazing kids. Program Assistant, Cyndi Coats, lended a helping hand whenever I needed it. Development Director, Debbie Boggs, wore bright clothing that matched her personality, and she even gave me the nickname “Chatty Charlye.”  Lastly, I loved how Director of Education, Rachel Devore, dedicated her time to the children in the Read to Lead Academy. She treated them as if they were her own. Each staff member welcomed me with open arms and gave me that extra push to keep going.

Overall, my internship at the Beth helped me pinpoint my weaknesses and my strengths. I learned that I have a lot of great skills to use and that I need to believe in myself.Thanks to everyone at the Beth!  Not only did I gain self confidence and skills that I can use in my career, I also gained a family.


Charlye B. White

Charlye is currently a Communications Major at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and will graduate in December. Her goal is to start her own non- profit one day and focus on the needs of her community. She loves to laugh, spend time in nature, and loves being a mommy to her son Princeton.

Posted by The Beth

Read to Lead Highlight:

June 28th, 2018

                              Mr. Larry

At the Beth we are blessed to have dedicated teachers who enjoy working with our kids. One of these awesome teachers is Mr. Larry! Larry has been a part of the Beth family for about a year. He wanted to work with the Read to Lead Academy because he is passionate about helping kids and giving back to the community. Growing up, Larry had people in his life that positively impacted him and pointed him in the right direction. Now he believes it’s his calling to do the same for others.

Larry lives out this calling by being a positive influence in the lives of his middle school students. During the school year he led discussions with his class about notable Black figures and the important accomplishments that they made. Since then he says “it’s cool to watch them grow and take pride in their culture and history as African - Americans.” He can see a maturity in them that they didn’t have before.

Not only is Larry a part of the Read to Lead after school program, but he also works in our summer program called Jump STArt Camp and our youth sports program. During camp he works with his middle schoolers and attends their weekly field trips. For the sports program he helps with the middle school teams and referees for the summer Preschool League on Saturdays.

It’s clear to see that Larry is dedicated to his community and enjoys watching his students grow academically and spiritually.

The Beth is proud to have a passionate teacher who wants the best for his students.


Shari J. Watson

Shari is a UTC graduate with a background in music and writing. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator 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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