East Lake Children Hope Their 12th Avenue Blues Become Yesterday's News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Our voices fill the air, fill the air.
When the neighbors need our help.
If you pave our streets, we'll feel relief.
The neighbors will say SWELL!


This is the chorus of 12th Avenue Blues, and the words of elementary aged children who are part of the East Lake Expression Engine. These children hope to make their 12th Avenue Blues "yesterday's news" and may sound like political activists, but they certainly don't look the part.

While exploring and learning music this summer, 60 elementary aged students from the East Lake community composed a number of original pieces. They created a wide variety of songs, including poetic pieces, and selections with a gospel message. One song gave these young musicians a voice and a place to work together as members of the community and seek change in their neighborhood.

12th Avenue Blues calls for action from our city leaders to fix a particular, poorly paved street in East Lake.

While the young musicians are rallying together to improve the pot holes in their street, their mentors know the bumps in the road these children face are far bigger. East Lake is a community where children face poverty, crime, racism, domestic violence, drugs, gangs and struggling schools as a part of their everyday lives.

Instead of throwing their hands up in defeat, young adults are investing in the lives of these children with the hope that those struggles will also become "yesterday's news."

The East Lake Expression Engine is a music project that is part of the New City Fellowship summer tutoring and mentoring program. As part of the program the students participated in daily music classes. Their classes included singing in a choir, participating in a bucket band, musicianship and instrumental exploration.

The ELEE co-founders, Evelyn Petcher, Libby O'Neil and Michael Kendal, began the pilot program this summer based on inspiration found in the El Sistema movement. The idea is that music can be used as an effective avenue to develop creativity, and problem solving skills in children while also developing a sense of community.

The founders designed the program as an extension of the church's tutoring and mentoring program. The tutoring program offers a safe and holistic environment where children from the neighborhood of East Lake can grow academically, spiritually and emotionally through gospel centered relationships. The church members and tutors believe the gospel is where true change is found. They want to see it empower the individual children of East Lake and through them bring change to their community.

The efforts this summer may or may not bring change to the pavement on 12th Avenue, but the investment of the staff and leaders of the Expression Engine and the ELECT tutoring program can't help but bring change to the lives of these children.

 

More About the East Lake Expression Engine:
The East Lake Expression Engine is part of Camp ELECT.  ELECT (East Lake Every Child Taught) is a summer tutoring program run by New City Fellowship in partnership with the YMCA of Chattanooga and made possible by a grant from the United Way.

You can find the East Lake Expression Engine on Facebook here.

 

 

- Photo2 by Kelly Lacy, Fancy Rhino

“The Urban Campout” Announced As New Event For Renaissance Park

The campout will take place in Renaissance Park on Saturday, Oct. 18.  "The overnight event will promote low-impact camping using innovative equipment. The Urban Campout was created to celebrate the notion of urban camping, while providing an entertaining and fun night in a site otherwise unavailable for this type of experience," organizers said. Prior to the overnight camping, ... (click for more)

Community Festival Day

East Chattanooga Improvement Inc. and the City of Chattanooga Department of Youth and Family Development invite all residents in the East Chattanooga and surrounding neighborhoods, such as Avondale, Bushtown, Churchville, East Chattanooga, Glenwood, Lincoln Park, Riverside Drive, and Battery Heights to the Community Festival Day. The event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27 ... (click for more)

Sewell Says City, EPB "Close" On Amount Owed By Utility To City On Street Light Overbilling

City Internal Auditor Stan Sewell told City Council members on Tuesday that EPB and the city are "close" on the amount owed by the utility to the city on street light overbilling. Mr. Sewell said the city computed the amount at about $1.2 million, while he said EPB's auditing firm, Mauldin and Jenkins, has it at $1.5 million for an 89-month period that was audited. Mr. Sewell ... (click for more)

City Council Votes 5-4 On New Process For Naming IDB Members

The City Council voted Tuesday night 5-4 to set up a new process for naming members to the Industrial Development Board (IDB), which currently has four vacancies. The process includes three City Council panels: A (Districts 1, 2, 3), B (Districts 4, 5, 6), and C (Districts 7, 8, 9). Group A will fill two of the vacancies and Groups B and C one each. Agreement ... (click for more)

Candidates Should State Facts, Not Fiction

At a recent forum for candidates for the Signal Mountain Town Council, one candidate, Mr. Chris Howley, discussed a number of issues and presented “facts” using incorrect or misleading statements.   Here are several issues that should be clarified:   1.       On the road up the mountain:   “I called TDOT.   I talked to Ken ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: I’m Certainly No Expert

Sometime on Monday night, after I had written a piece on getting swatted with a switch as a kid, I got an email from ESPN Canada asking if I would be a televised guest on “Off the Record,” the most watched daily sports show in Canada. The subject: corporal punishment in America. Are you kidding me? I am hardly an expert. All weekend my world of sports and its excitement was warped ... (click for more)