Causeway Announces Jon Johnson Of Howard School As Changemaker Of The Year Winner

Friday, May 5, 2017
Jon Johnson, teacher and coach at The Howard School, is Causeway's Changemaker of the Year winner
Jon Johnson, teacher and coach at The Howard School, is Causeway's Changemaker of the Year winner

Causeway announced Jon Johnson as the winner of its first annual Changemaker of the Year Award. Mr. Johnson is a Spanish teacher and baseball coach at The Howard School, and has facilitated student-led efforts to better integrate diverse populations within the school. Additionally, in his role as baseball coach, Mr. Johnson has overseen the team’s efforts to rebuild their own field during the off-season.

Finalists for the Changemaker of the Year award included Roenesha Anderson, Byron Francis, Rebekah Griggs, Theresa Nix, and Katie Smith.  

Causeway was founded on the belief that any person, in any neighborhood, who has an idea for positive social change should have access to the resources and the tools they need to act on that opportunity. The Changemaker of the Year award celebrates community leaders who have completed one or more of Causeway’s programs to help them get their community-focused project off the ground. To choose the finalists, Causeway staff members evaluated all of their program participants on a rubric that measured levels of engagement, innovation, execution, and impact.  

The winner, Mr. Johnson, was chosen through a public vote that included over 2,300 individual votes cast. The Changemaker of the Year was announced at SPARK, Causeway’s annual celebration of Chattanooga’s changemakers. He received a $500 award funded by the sponsors of Causeway’s event SPARK.  

“Getting to know Jon–and all the finalists–has been a true honor," said Abby Garrison, Causeway's executive director.  "At Causeway, we get the chance to meet so many people who are rolling up their sleeves, working tirelessly in their communities, often without any recognition.  We think it’s important for new people and new ideas to get infused into Chattanooga’s social sector, and are thrilled to highlight these talented changemakers.”  

Causeway learned that Mr. Johnson is not your average teacher. He applied to the Youth Violence Challenge with an application to bridge a growing divide that is occurring as Howard’s student population diversifies, with the Hispanic population growing from 6 percent to 37 percent in just three years. Mr. Johnson showed up from day one with three students that he has encouraged to lead the project every step of the way.  

While working with Mr. Johnson and his students on their Challenge project, Los Tigres Unidos, Causeway caught word of their side project: resurrecting Howard baseball. A year before Mr. Johnson started teaching at Howard, a group of students rallied to start a baseball team at the school. They cobbled together a team, and lost every game (all of which were away games, in the absence of a usable field), but it was a start.

The next year, Mr. Johnson started teaching Spanish at Howard, and brought a vision to use baseball to build relationships and create a thriving environment at Howard. Over many winter nights and weekends, the small group of teammates and Mr. Johnson rolled up their sleeves, and completely revamped their overgrown baseball field.

Causeway helped Mr. Johnson set up a crowdfunding page, and he raised over $30,000 in just eight weeks after David Cook told their story in his column. In addition to the money raised, community members from all over Chattanooga came by to lend a hand, pouring concrete, building fences, and laying sod.

Mr. Johnson’s vision doesn’t stop with Howard. He wants to build a culture of baseball in the surrounding neighborhoods, getting parents and kids involved in little league, baseball camps, and community teams, all using the field that he and his students built. 

Founded in 2010, Causeway uses an entrepreneurial approach to inspire and equip Chattanoogans to develop smarter solutions to the city’s toughest challenges. Causeway is here to make sure that anyone, in any neighborhood, who has an idea for positive change, has access to the tools and the resources they need to act on that idea.  Causeway is a local, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization supported by the Benwood Foundation, Footprint Foundation, the Community Foundation, the Osborne Fund and by thousands of Chattanoogans wanting to make a difference in their home town.  For more information about Causeway, please visit www.causeway.org or contact the workspace at 521-5554.



Katty Kay, Lead Anchor Of BBC World News America, To Keynote CWLI 2019 Impact Event

Rotary Club Of Chattanooga Hamilton Place Hosts Michael Ayalon, Rotary District #6780 Membership Chair

Ice On The Landing Hosts The 1st Annual Skillet Curling Championship


The Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute has confirmed Katty Kay, award-winning lead anchor for BBC News and best-selling author, as the keynote speaker for their 14th annual IMPACT Leadership ... (click for more)

The Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place hosted Michael Ayalon, Rotary District #6780 mmembership chair, as the featured speaker. "Michael's address focused on the topic of the Secrets ... (click for more)

Cast iron skillets will be thrown on the ice on Tuesday in a combination of curling, bocce and shuffleboard ice for the Skillet Curling championship held at Ice on the Landing from 5-10 p.m. ... (click for more)


Happenings

Katty Kay, Lead Anchor Of BBC World News America, To Keynote CWLI 2019 Impact Event

The Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute has confirmed Katty Kay, award-winning lead anchor for BBC News and best-selling author, as the keynote speaker for their 14th annual IMPACT Leadership Dinner. The event will take place on Feb. 21 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St. in Chattanooga. CWLI also announces Gina Dhanani, vice president ... (click for more)

Rotary Club Of Chattanooga Hamilton Place Hosts Michael Ayalon, Rotary District #6780 Membership Chair

The Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place hosted Michael Ayalon, Rotary District #6780 mmembership chair, as the featured speaker. "Michael's address focused on the topic of the Secrets of Rotary Recruitment, highlighting ways to grow our club, providing a membership overview of Rotary International and including general ideas and motivation strategies to recruit and retain ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Authorities Say October 2018 Murder Of Jacob Dakota Moore Was Carried Out At 4915 Orchard Drive In Apison

Authorities say the murder of 26-year-old Jacob Dakota Moore was carried out on Oct. 10 at 4915 Orchard Dr. in Apison. James David Robinson, 42, and Askia Witherow39, have been charged in the slaying. His body was found by hunters at a remote area of Polk County on Oct. 29. The TBI said the property off of Tieskee Creek Road belongs to Dale Bishop, step-father of Robinson. ... (click for more)

Linda Damewood Killed, Another Critical, Third Injured In Shooting At Crossville

One person was killed, another critically injured and a third hurt in a shooting at Crossville on Saturday. Linda Damewood, 74, of Crossville, was dead at the scene. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Tansi Security, and Tennessee Highway Patrol units responded to 8610 Cherokee Trail at approximately 6:38 p.m. to a reported shooting. Cumberland County Sheriff’s ... (click for more)

Opinion

Senator Alexander: A Reasonable Proposal To End The Government Shutdown

A government shutdown is always the wrong idea. It is the wrong idea under President Trump, just as it was the wrong idea under President Obama. Members of Congress should first remember that when a president who has been duly elected by the people of the United States -- whatever you may think of him or her -- has a legitimate objective, it is our responsibility to do everything ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Walmart vs 535 Morons

There is an anonymous paper on the Internet that tells how Walmart could do a better job running America instead of the pompous flops and duds we send to Washington. Please try to connect the dots on Walmart’s 1.6 million employees and the obscene profits that they make versus our 535 members of Congress who blow through money while “WallyWorld” churns out an average of $20-thousand ... (click for more)