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

Success Ready: A Free Career Prep And Job Fair For Teens To Be Held June 2-3

First Things First presents Success Ready , a two-day networking event for high school aged teens who are looking for summer employment and beyond. “We’re in the high schools on a regular basis teaching relationship skills,” said Julie Baumgardner, president and CEO of First Things First. “We saw the need for a type of networking and career prep event for ... (click for more)

Local Bathroom Renovators To Give Away Bathtub-To-Shower Conversion To Chattanooga Area Veteran

Re-Bath and 5 Day Kitchens of Chattanooga and North Georgia announce a bathtub-to-shower conversion giveaway by random drawing for American veterans in the Chattanooga area. "Re-Bath of Chattanooga and North Georgia is proud to be able to use their skills and expertise to help those who have given so much in defense of our great nation," officials said. Nelson Wong, president ... (click for more)

Attorney Says Lacie Stone, Advisor To Mayor Berke, Is Victim, Not Instigator

The attorney for advisor to Mayor Andy Berke Lacie Stone said she has been thrust into the spotlight, but said she is "the victim of an unprovoked attack" by her husband, Bobby Stone. Attorney John Cavett said it is ridiculous "to suggest that she was the perpetrator." Mr. Stone is facing charges of domestic assault and vandalism. Attorney Cavett said, "It is unfortunate ... (click for more)

Dr. Russell Dyer Chosen As Director Of Schools By Cleveland City School Board

The Cleveland City School board unanimously voted Thursday afternoon to offer the job of director of Schools to Dr. Russell Dyer. Dr. Dyer serves as the chief of staff of schools in Collierville, Tn.  If Dr. Dyer accepts the school board's contract, he will be paid $132,500 a year.  After contract negotiations, the board plans for Dr. Dyer to start at Cleveland City ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Judge's Night Behind Bars

There is very little doubt that retired Army Sergeant Joe Serna has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving three tours as a Green Beret in Afghanistan. Once he barely avoided being blown up by a hidden IED and then there was another terrifying brush with a suicide bomber. But the worst was when a truck he was in slid off the roadway into a canal. “It was like ... (click for more)