A Community That Gives Back

September 25th, 2018

A Community That Gives Back

I’m Gloria Dubose, Director of Community Outreach for the Bethlehem Center. I love my job because of the community we serve! My goal is to empower the adults in our community to give back to the Beth, their families, South Chattanooga, and beyond.  I have seen the residents start to give more and more.

One example is Ms. Pat. She started coming to Bingo at the Beth about a year ago. During that time, she connected us to a man named Barney May, who now offers culinary and food-based classes at the Bethlehem Center once a month. She also started taking care of our garden beds through Mr. May’s program. Before Ms. Pat, we had a hard time keeping a garden because none of the Beth staff had a green thumb. Now that Ms. Pat is here, our garden is growing! She’s pulled in other community members to help take care of it, and the produce is slowly being shared throughout the community.

Two other ladies who I’ve watched give back are Ms. Lillie and Ms. Donna. Ms. Lillie helps make sure that participants fill out sign-in sheets before each meeting, and Ms. Donna gives me suggestions for services and topics that could benefit the seniors in our community. These are just a few examples. All of the women that come to community connection are dedicated and make the program what it is.

The Beth’s mission is to empower children and families to lead responsible lives by providing discipleship, education, and leadership development. Through my work with the Community Connection initiatives, I have seen first hand what happens when residents are empowered. They give back and they make our load lighter at the Beth. They come up with great ideas that serve the larger community, and quite frankly, they bring us joy when they walk in the building.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the community. I pray that Community Connection will inspire others to walk through our doors, hope, grow, and be empowered to give back to even more residents.

Gloria Dubose

Gloria is the Community Outreach Director at the Bethlehem Center. She started at the Beth as an unpaid intern and she's been here ever since! She's a proud Moc (UTC alumni) and is passionate about learning everything Latin (including Spanish).
To connect with Gloria email g[email protected]

Posted by The Beth

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

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