Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why did you change your name?
The former name, Christian Women’s Job Corps did not give an adequate enough description of our ministry since 1) we serve both men and women, 2) we serve Christians and persons of all faith, 3) we are a ministry focused on education, not job placement and 4) corps is an outdated term implying government affiliation. Begin Anew remains a Christian faith-based non profit. The name was chosen to convey a new beginning and hope that comes from Christ as expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold the new has come!”
2. What statistics can you share about poverty in our area?
Metro Nashville Social Services and the Census identify that 19.9% (higher than the national poverty rate of 15%) of the area’s population are trapped by barriers caused by poverty. Further, the poverty rate for single mothers with children under 5 is 47.9%. The poverty rate for the area Begin Anew serves in Madison is between 17 and 28% (districts 7, 8, & 9); the poverty rate for the Nashville area served is between 35 and 41% (districts 2, 19 & 21); the Woodbine area poverty rate is between 22 and 39% (districts 17, 26, 27 & 30). In Williamson County, we know that 40% of the public school children live below the poverty line.
A High School Diploma is necessary to obtain a job that is above a living wage. Out of Tennessee’s 95 counties, Davidson County is 90th in High School graduation rates. Even with several agencies offering GED classes, there is not enough classroom space for the 80,000 persons in the Metro area without a high school diploma to attend classes. Furthermore, the city of Nashville has the 5th largest population of foreign born residents in the United States. Many of these work low wage jobs and need English classes and literacy skills to obtain a better job.
3. How are you funded?
Begin Anew has a broad base of financial support including foundation and corporate (37%); annual donations from individuals (10%), annual fundraisers (41%); and congregational support (12%). There are no enrollment fees from students and we do not receive any government funding. Charitable contributions allow us to provide all the services that students receive. Our diverse funding sources provide a strong sustaining base of support.
In addition, Begin Anew benefits from significant in-kind contributions. Volunteers are central to our mission and keep costs low. Volunteers serve as teachers, tutors, childcare workers, mentors and fundraisers. We also have a volunteer IT team that keeps our technology up to date and running smoothly. Students from local colleges serve as interns paid by Federal Work Study or as an unpaid intern. All of this helps develop community.
Another significant in-kind donation is the satellite space provided by churches. Begin Anew does not own and does not plan to own facilities. Partnering with churches to utilize their space at times when there is less activity, works well and makes financial sense.
4. How is Begin Anew different from other GED programs?
While there are many programs that address adult education and gaining employment, Begin Anew offers a holistic faith-based program that provides students the relationships, skills and networks to achieve their education goals and change their life circumstances. For a long time in social policy, poverty and wealth have been defined against only one resource: financial. Money does not build human capacity, and money does not change thinking. The things that change thinking are: Relationships with people different than you (social bridging capital), emotional personal experiences, education, spiritual awakening and employment.
Begin Anew focuses on solutions, shared responsibilities, new insights and interdependence. Our work involves connectedness and relationships – without it, no one can truly succeed. Begin Anew creates the potential for transformation of the body, mind, heart and spirit - not just in the students served, but also in the lives of our volunteers.
Additionally, for students who have struggled in school, the individualized environment provided by Begin Anew can help them reach their goals and gain confidence in their skills and abilities. Many of our students would not be able to attend class without the free childcare we provide.
5. Where do you get volunteers?
Begin Anew relies on more than 250 volunteers to accomplish our goals and serve our students. We fill these roles from many different places including our dedicated church partners, local colleges and community partner organizations such as Hands On Nashville. Volunteers can help in multiple ways - providing ongoing volunteer roles, volunteering for a one-time specific task or volunteering as a group to serve.
6. What training do you provide for volunteers?
At Begin Anew, we want all of our volunteers to feel prepared and confident to serve in their particular roles. Every volunteer goes through a General Orientation and training that explains who we are as an organization and how we engage with our students who come from a variety of different backgrounds. This training is offered one on one or in small groups by the Volunteer Recruiter & Trainer or can be completed via an online tutorial. Once the general training is complete, the Volunteer Recruiter & Trainer will provide more specialized training depending on the role in which they serve (tutor, childcare provider, prayer partner, or encourager).
7. What do children do in childcare?
It is our goal at Begin Anew to create a safe and loving environment for children entrusted to our care while their parents attend class. Begin Anew provides games, a small snack and drink and structured activities for all children, which includes tutoring for the older children and Bible story time. This program is designed to allow all children from different backgrounds and cultures to join together and learn to show mutual respect to each other.