I blink and a month at the Bethlehem Center has already flown by. And what a welcoming, awesome, and opportunistic month it has been! Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Morgan Reeves and I am a student at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. I’m currently working on my bachelor’s degree in social work with the intentions of graduating in May. After graduation, I plan on pursing a master’s degree in non-profit management. As a part of my senior year curriculum, I will be interning to gain real world experience, and I couldn’t have picked a better place to do that other than at the Beth.
In the last month, I have already learned so much. I am seeing what all it takes to run and operate a non-profit by being included in education, development, marketing, project planning, and fundraising meetings. I have also experienced and will continue to work in the Read to Lead Academy. What a blessing it is that children in the community have a safe place to go after-school where they can learn, grow, and have fun. Not only is the Read to Lead Academy an enjoyable place for the children, but it’s that for the staff as well. The Beth staff enjoys loving on the younger kids and cracking jokes with the older ones all while building meaningful relationships with each and every child. I love watching the staff collaborate as one huge thinking tank in the weekly staff meetings. One of the many things that the Beth has going for them is the ability to work so great with each other. It’s interesting how each department contributes different components that are vital to the operation of this non-profit. Other learning experiences I’ve had the privilege to assist with include: the Annual Fish Fry hosted by Ooltewah United Methodist Church, Parking Day, UTC Public Service Fair, Morning Manna, B.L.U. program planning, and the South Chattanooga Community Assessment. After taking part in all of the above my first month, I can only imagine the opportunities that have yet to come.
My favorite part of being an intern is learning from the children in the community. Each child is unique in his or her own way. Getting to know and work with each child has absolutely been the highlight of my internship so far. While I am able to teach these children about a wide range of different things, they are teaching me more than they will ever realize. Recently, Ms. Rachel, the Education Director, and I were able to take two of the Read to Lead students to the Hunter Museum. SPLASH, a youth art workshop, had an exhibit with our students’ artwork displayed. It was awesome to see how happy and proud our students were that their art was on display for many to see at a huge museum like the Hunter. We showed the kids other exhibits during our visit as well. They were so fascinated and inspired with the artwork. Hearing their interpretations verses my own was quite remarkable. They saw things in a totally different light. Taking the students on this trip was definitely a memorable experience.
When my year at The Beth comes to a close, I hope that I’m able to walk away knowing that I gave my all to this community. I want to leave an impact, no matter how small that impact may be. I hope the children will be able to say, “Hey, that Ms. Morgan girl loved us,” and if I’m lucky maybe they’ll say I was cool too. I hope this experience at the Beth enables me to be a better social worker in other communities. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to spend my internship here and with the people of this community.
Morgan is a senior at UTC planning to graduate with a degree in social work. She is currently the social work intern at the Bethlehem Center and loves getting to know youth in the Alton Park community. In her free time she enjoys antique shopping, hanging with friends, and playing volleyball.