Community

Read to Lead Academy: Weekly Check-Ins


After shutting down our after school program in March and then our summer program in July due to COVID-19 safety concerns, our Read to Lead staff has been incredibly creative in finding ways to stay connected with our students and their families. In July, we started weekly face to face check-ins with our kiddos. This keeps us engaged with our kids and allows us to make sure families have access to all the resources they need. Here’s a few words from staff member, Emily on her visit with first grader, Tasha:


“I arrived at Tasha’s house right when she got out of school. She had so much energy! The past two times I’ve been over there, she has been so excited because she gets lonely being the only kid in her house. This time, I brought Kool-aid slushies for us to enjoy together. She made fun of my blue mouth after we ate them, but when I pointed out how red hers was, she insisted on getting a picture. We talked a lot about school, and how she was excited to learn about “first grade stuff.” She talked so much about how much she missed the Bethlehem Center too! For the rest of the time I was there we played hide and seek and did some cartwheels in the yard. It was an amazing day!”


          The aspect of our programming that we as a staff have truly missed the most since the pandemic began has been the kids: their smiles, their stories, their hugs, and their laughter. These weekly check-ins have given us a small piece of that back while allowing us to still pour into our students and stay updated on their lives throughout this trying time.




Rachel DeVore

Rachel is our Director of Education here at the Bethlehem Center. She is known for her consistent hard work and dedication to the mission, kids, and her fellow staff members of the Bethlehem Center. To get into contact with Rachel or find out more about the Read To Lead Academy at the Bethlehem Center email her at: [email protected]

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Read to Lead Highlight:

December 13th, 2018

 Read to Lead Academy Highlight: 

 Ms. Kiesha's Story


Being employed at the Bethlehem Center has allowed me 

to have a positive impact on the children that are enrolled

 in the Read to Lead program, which is something that I 

never knew I was capable of doing.
 
When I found out I would be working with the younger 

kids, I was kind of nervous because I’m not a teacher and

 certainly never considered myself to be one.  I am a

 single parent of three, and I grew up/live in the same 

neighborhood as the children who attend the program so I 

didn’t even see myself as role model.


The night before the program was set to begin, I 

wondered how I would be able to connect with the

 children. I was clueless. While on YouTube, I ran across 

an inspiring video from a Gap commercial which aired in

 2017. It was a clip of a third grade teacher, who taught

 her class a mantra titled “Push Through". It was about

 how to rise above and persevere through adversity. I 

watched the video repeatedly because I wanted my three

 kids to learn it. But then something happened. I realized 

that my connection would be that I am a parent and these 

students would become my kids too.



And when you are a parent, you always have your children's 

best interest at heart. This was something that they needed to 

hear. The program began, weeks passed, and the students 

learned  the mantra.

To see and hear them recite this mantra is… amazing! At the 

end of the mantra I usually say, “Well I don’t believe you 

because I can’t hear you” but yesterday, I didn’t say it. You 

know what happened? They asked me did I believe them. I 

jokingly said no and in the loudest voice ever, they repeated 

the mantra with the cutest facial expression, determined to

 prove to me that they can “Push Through”.




Rakiesha Michelle

Kiesha is an after-school teacher for the Bethlehem Center's Read to Lead Academy. She loves teaching the first grade class which includes her daughter, Taylor. Kiesha is currently a student at UTC and is working on a Criminal Justice degree. The Beth is blessed to have a dedicated and loving teacher like Keisha on our team!

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Morning Manna

October 26th, 2018

      Morning Manna is one of my favorite ways that the Bethlehem Center serves South Chattanooga children and families. The purpose of the program is to provide a safe haven where middle and high school students can wait for the bus in the morning. The program is especially unique because it allows us to take advantage of a time that most students are unsupervised or don’t have anything constructive to do. We open the gym every morning, play sports and card games with kids, do a brief devotional, and enjoy snacks with them on Fridays!

The program officially started in 2016 after a shooting happened one morning at the bus stop. We’d never imagined that anything like this could have happened but once it did, we knew that it was our responsibility to act. So, we started opening up the gym to students. We were able to get grants from CHI Memorial the first two years to help us fund two staff members, sports balls, and snacks for the program.


Since starting in 2016, Morning Manna has served more than 77 students and at least 25 of those have been high schoolers. All of them have had the opportunity to be exposed to the gospel and have been mentored by our staff who genuinely care about their well being. We have seen students go on to work at the Bethlehem Center and the Chattanooga Zoo. Some have grown in their self-control and others have learned to open up more to others.

Are you ready to be a part of a program that brings light and fun to the morning times? Great! We need $4,500 to provide students in our area with a warm, fun, and safe place to wait for the bus for the entire school year. Will you help us provide this safe haven?

Go to www.thebeth.org/donate, or give cash or check to the Bethlehem Center 200 W 38th St.

Any amount helps!


 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 [email protected]

Posted by The Beth | Topic: Community | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment

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September 17, 2020  | 7:30pm

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