Community Highlight:

April 20th, 2018

Camp Lookout

During spring break, some of our Beth students, along with students from surrounding Chattanooga schools, went to Camp Lookout for a week. Amazing camp counselors went with them to mentor and guide them through every exciting adventure. One of the counselors was our Beth intern, Caleb. He helped lead a group of high school boys and one middle school boy. Caleb’s favorite activities with his group were caving and hiking.

Most of the boys had never experienced this!

While caving, Caleb watched his campers drop down into a dark hole with their flashlights, crawl between small spaces, and face their fears. One student in particular stood out for his willingness to try new things. Dee was always first to volunteer for any activity,” Caleb said. “He was the shortest and smallest kid, but he wasn’t afraid to try anything.” 

I wasn't that different from them when I was in high school. 

During the hike, Caleb noticed that the kids started to truly see the beauty of nature. “When we made it to the waterfall, everyone grew quiet,” he said smiling. “It was the first time seeing a waterfall for many of them. It was this moment where I saw them begin to truly bond with one another.”

Another camper that stood out to Caleb was a kid named Devonte. Caleb noticed that the older kids in his group liked to pick on the one middle schooler. Devonte was the only one who stood up for the younger kid and included him. Devonte also spoke out against violence when Caleb and another camp counselor lead a discussion about gangs. Devonte shared that family is more important to him than any stability that a gang may provide. It was clear to Caleb and the other counselor that Devonte doesn’t follow the crowd. 

Caleb’s experience as a camp counselor is one he’ll never forget. “My time with these kids definitely tested my patience and grace in a lot of ways, but I learned not to sweat the little things. I wasn’t that different than them when I was in high school.” Caleb loved seeing how the campers who had tough exteriors at the beginning of the week began to soften as they took on new adventures. At night when the boys were in their cabins, he overheard them saying how much fun they had during their daily activities, and how they saw or did something new. 

It’s safe to say that Caleb enjoyed his time at camp just as much as his campers did. Providing our students with new opportunities for growth and walking alongside them is what the Beth is all about, and that’s why I share this story with you.


Shari J. Watson

Shari is a UTC graduate with a background in music and writing. She 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

Read to Lead Highlight:

March 23rd, 2018

The Joys of Teaching

Here at the Beth we have some pretty awesome teachers that work in our Read to Lead Academy. They are dedicated to preparing our students for the future through education, discipleship, and leadership development. Each teacher has his or her own way of bonding with the students. One teacher in particular, Ms. Jordan, loves to bond with her students by playing football, getting to know their personalities, and helping them overcome obstacles. She has been working at the Beth for over a year and says she has grown to love her students more each day. 

Jordan has watched her 2nd and 3rd grade boys grow into small young men who are responsible and take pride in their accomplishments. “My student named Monte loves to show me his math grades from school,” Jordan shared with a big grin. During homework period, she helps Monte with his math. She loves seeing him realize that he is smart enough to get A’s in a subject that is difficult for many kids. Jordan also shared how proud she is to see her 4th grade girls leading the other students by example. They know what behavior is expected, and they respond appropriately when disciplined. 

Overall Jordan enjoys working at the Beth because she feels like she’s making a difference. “I’ve never had to ask myself why I’m here. The kids are teaching me just as much as I’m teaching them, and I don’t have to wait to see if I’m making an impact. I’m rewarded by seeing these kids grow everyday.”  It’s evident that the students see Jordan as an adult they can trust, have fun with, and someone who wants the best for them. 

The Beth is thankful to have you, Jordan!


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

Community Highlight:

February 20th, 2018

A Community With Hope

Last month, I had the privilege to attend the Titus II Woman Lunch & Learn at the Beth. This luncheon is a part of our Community Connection initiative which provides monthly events for adult residents in Alton Park. The luncheon was about how to find our true identity in Christ.  I came to take photos for Marketing but was pulled into the message with everyone else.

 Pastor Connie from Rivers of Living Water Christian Center shared what it means to be a whole person. She explained that we don’t need another person to be complete. She went on to say that “If God has created you and already defined you, why are you looking for others to tell you who you are?” Her words resonated with all of us. One elderly lady shared that the Lord gave her the courage to go back to school and get her GED when she was fifty years old. Despite her insecurities and negative remarks from others,  she accomplished her goal. She believed that God was on her side and would provide.

I thought about how often I believe that God can do something for someone else but not for me. It can be easy to fall into hopelessness when it comes to our own situations. It’s also easy to try to find our identity in other people or things. Pastor Connie reminded us that it’s important to remember that our true worth is in Christ, not in what we have or in the opinions of others.

After hearing so many stories, it was clear that this lovely group of individuals did not take their faith lightly. I was encouraged by their stories and how they hold onto their hope in God. Many of you may be familiar with the financial and transportation struggles of the Alton Park residents, but I think a lot of you would be amazed to hear how truly hopeful they are. They have not let their circumstances dim their faith. They persevere despite their setbacks. It is a privilege to work for a nonprofit that strives to help empower this community through spiritual and educational development. 


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 | Topic: Community


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