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."

PHOTOS: Buskers Festival & Oktoberfest

Scenes from the Buskers Festival & Oktoberfest in Chattanooga over the weekend (click for more)

Harvest Festival In Menlo Park Community Is Oct. 29

There will be a Harvest Festival in the Menlo Park Community in Brainerd on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. The event will be held at Greater Emmanuel Church, 400 Tunnel Blvd., and everyone is invited to attend this free event.   Activities will include Trunk or Treat, carnival games, face painting, bounce houses and other entertainment.  Free winter coats ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Where Is The Speed Control On Our Highways? - And Response (2)

I am teaching my 15-year-old to drive in the North Georgia and Chattanooga area. I have warned her of the dangers of exceeding the speed limit both as a hazard to herself and in terms of receiving a ticket. What a liar I am.  Have you driven on the local freeways and highways recently? I never see any highway patrolmen helping to reduce speeding or pulling over those who ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Testerman Forum

I badly misjudged how long it would take me to do my “early voting.” I was in-and-out in no time so I got to the Hamilton County School Board’s agenda meeting well enough beforehand to have an “educational forum” with board member David Testerman. If you haven’t noticed, forums and summits and “community enlightenment” groups are the new rage and, as my friend David laughed, “They ... (click for more)