Lurone "Coach" Jennings, Sr. Addresses Civitan Club

Friday, May 9, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

Youth and Family Development Administrator for the City of Chattanooga Lurone "Coach" Jennings, Sr. said to the Civitan Club Friday afternoon, "I'm just a servant to God and a servant to God's people."

He said Chattanooga Youth and Family Development has five main areas of focus. The first area is education. 

Coach Jennings said the Youth and Family Development Department's goal was "developing smarter students and stronger families.

" He said they wanted to "collaborate and supplement what our public schools are doing."

To do this, he said part of Mayor Andy Berke's plan was to "bring education and literacy to the forefront" at the city's 17 family recreation centers. 

Coach Jennings said, "We were able to implement our city-wide literacy initiative...At this time, students and parents can go to any of our 17 centers to get the tutoring they need."

The second YFD focus area is leadership. 

He believes part of the success they have seen thus far has come from good leadership. Coach Jennings said he enjoyed working with Mayor Berke because of the mayor's belief in "getting the right people in the right place with passion and commitment."

He said Mayor Berke looked for people that "go to bed every night and wake up thinking about how to make Chattanooga better." 

He continued, "We want all city workers to not just look at themselves as employees, but as leaders."

The third focus area is career development. Coach Jennings said the city wanted to "encourage students and parents to start thinking of career opportunities." 

He said he also wants people to "see work as a positive thing instead of a negative thing...We're trying to break cycles of families who have gone through entitlement programs."

He also pointed out, "Crime reduction has to involve career development." 

He said out of the approximately 16 men who participated in the call-in as apart of the Violence Reduction Initiative, four of them now have jobs. Coach Jennings said because these men wanted to turn their lives around, Mayor Berke found companies who were willing to overlook their criminal backgrounds.

The fourth focus area of the YFD is recreation. He said this important because it improves the health of the community. 

City recreation programs include Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, Seasonal Sports and Athletic Leagues, Therapeutic Recreation, and Senior Olympics.

He said people come from all over to play softball in Chattanooga. Coach Jennings also praised Chattanooga's senior recreational programs, saying, "We have one of the top senior citizen programs in the country." 

He said seniors at the Eastgate Senior Center have games, fitness activities, and even take trips across the country. Recently, a group from the center went to New Orleans.

He said, "These people will teach you how to live and enjoy life." 

The last focus area of the YFD is social services. Coach Jennings described this area as "the benevolence arm for the city.

He said, "When people are trying to bounce back and get on their feet, our department serves them." 

He said this branch was "not just a handout, but a hand up," saying the YFD provides people in need with job referrals and skills training.

He also said the city encouraged local churches to get involved. He said, "When individuals have needs as such, they also have spiritual needs and emotional needs."


"So You Think You Can't Sing" Vocal Confidence Workshop Will Be Held May 21

Instructor   Trish Ferrell Wileman will conduct a vocal workshop at the Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave. in Signal Mountain on Saturday, May 21.  The workshop meets from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with a mid-day lunch break. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear the response, 'I can't sing,' when I tell someone that I am a voice teacher and choral conductor," ... (click for more)

Big Brothers Big Sisters Participates In Take Daughters And Sons To Work Day

Each year, more than 3.5 million American workplaces open their doors to over 37 million employees and their children on Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day. The White House urged workplaces and organizations to work together to include all kids on Wednesday. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga participated in this request by urging all staff and “Bigs” ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Rules That Hutcheson Medical Center And Its Trustees Owe Erlanger $36,379,968.20

A federal judge at Rome, Ga., has ruled that the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties and Hutcheson Medical Center are liable to pay Erlanger Health System $36,379,968.20. Judge Harold Murphy, in a 90-page opinion, discarded a counter-claim brought by Hutcheson against Erlanger. He directed that Erlanger be paid $20 million for money it spent while managing ... (click for more)

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson Hospitalized; 2 Cleveland Police Officers Injured After Altercation With Man With History Of Assaults

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson and two Cleveland Police officers were injured Thursday while intervening in a domestic assault in progress. While driving on 25 th St. N.W. Sheriff Watson witnessed the assault, it was stated. When the sheriff tried to intervene, the man involved in the assault attacked him. During the scuffle the man struck Sheriff Watson numerous times, ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)