Lurone "Coach" Jennings, Sr. Addresses Civitan Club

Friday, May 09, 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."


This Week In The Arts

This week in the Arts   Thursday, September 18    Chattanooga Girls Choir's Antipasto Allegro at Mia Cucina     Gee's Bend  at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre     Chenille Collection at the Blunt House       Barbra's Wedding  at the Ringgold Depot     "The Guns of ... (click for more)

Anime Blast Chattanooga Welcomes First Featured Panelists

Anime Blast Chattanooga will host their first featured panelists: REIN and Shattered Stitch.Anime Blast Chattanooga will be held Nov. 7-9 at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga. Pre-registration for the weekend is $30 till Oct. 1, or $25 per person with a group of six or more, or the VIP package for $50. Details on the VIP package, as well as the registration form, ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed Multiple Times On Cleveland Avenue Early Thursday Morning

A woman was stabbed multiple times early Thursday morning. At approximately 3 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 2104 Cleveland Ave. for a stabbing. Officers located a black female in the roadway suffering from multiple stab wounds. The victim was transported to a local hospital by HCEMS for her injuries and is in stable condition. Investigators have not been able to ... (click for more)

CARTA Leaders Welcome Study On Passenger Rail Service For Chattanooga

CARTA leaders said Thursday they welcome an upcoming $700,000 study on re-instituting passenger rail service for Chattanooga. Lisa Maragnano, executive director, said, "This fits right into our multimodal transit center study, which we have said needs to be by rail." She added, "This is really a cool thing." Chattanooga received a $400,000 federal grant for the study and ... (click for more)

Walking Among Memories, The USS LST-325

I have walked among the head stones at Flanders Fields and have seen the entrenchment of soldiers with only bayonet tips sticking out of the earth. Later I traveled to Normandy where I stood on the sand and made scuff marks with my shoes on Omaha Beach and climbed the hill to the magnificent American Cemetery there. I again walked among the many, many tomb stones so neatly and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Aunt Martha

During my first year at Ole Miss, I was so distracted by the stunning coeds on campus that I paid too much attention to the wrong kind of figures. I ended up flubbing a math class, which at the time was most serious and potentially deadly for an American boy. It meant I didn't have enough credit hours to avoid the draft and in almost no time I got a red, gut-retching postcard that ... (click for more)