Begin Anew Graduation December 2018


 Begin Anew held Winter Graduation in a new location this December with a record number of 39 graduates! Eastland Baptist opened their church to welcome Begin Anew staff, volunteers, graduates and their families to celebrate their educational successes on Saturday, December 8th, 2018. The church looked grand and beautiful with holiday lights draped throughout the impressive 98 year old sanctuary.  It was a perfect setting for a celebration. 

 Graduates arrived excited about the day; as they dressed in the black graduation gowns with the caps and tassels, they saw themselves in a new and exciting ways. As they stepped forward to receive their diploma/certification, a sense of accomplishment and pride radiated on every face.  Each student represented a journey, a story, and a life blessed by Begin Anew. They accomplished what they set out to do, a dream had been realized for them, new doors and opportunities were opening up for them. Family members, friends, tutors, teachers, encouragers, prayer partners, and Begin Anew staff all rejoiced with each student, recognizing the hard work and determination demonstrated to make this day a reality.

 In many ways, the day represented a new beginning for Begin Anew as well; the new Executive Director, Heather Norvell, stood on the stage to welcome everyone, to share in the celebration of the day, and to remind us all of the value we have in Jesus Christ. Heather talked about a small round coin, a penny, and how that coin provided an opportunity for each of us to remember where we should place our trust, as the coin plainly states “In God we trust.”  Several of the Program Directors, in their remarks, also mentioned the importance of trusting in God as we move forward with new goals and dreams, citing Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

 In that trust, we all rejoice, knowing that Christ provides for each of us a life of celebration and having dreams come true. By placing our trust in Christ, we can all Begin Anew!

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Begin Anew is Changing Lives

A lot can happen as students get involved in the process of achieving their high school equivalency through Begin Anew. They become part of the classroom community and many make new friends who are working on similar goals. Students begin to grow in knowledge and in academic skills, but they also begin to grow in confidence. Something that had seemed, for many, an impossible task begins to become something that they see themselves achieving.

Tyrone Lawrence exemplifies this growth and change that can take place. He has been in the program for almost nine months and has already passed one of the official HiSet exams. Tyrone actively participates in the Bible study time. He willingly shares his own insights and makes contributions that are helpful for the other students, many of whom do not have any personal faith. He can often be found in the parking lot after class visiting with new friends who are in the program.

In recent months,Tyrone has been diligently working on math. His grasp of the material has grown as well as his confidence. He is pictured above giving instructions to his tutor, who is at the whiteboard, about how to do a math problem. Just a few months ago that would never have been possible.

Tyrone entered the program with a goal of having his own line of clothing developed to sell. He has already moved ahead with this project and has some items for sale. He has other goals that require him to finish what he has started at Begin Anew, obtaining his high school diploma. With determination, dedication, and hard work, he can do it! Begin Anew is blessed to be able to be a part of changing the lives of many people. If you would like to be involved, you can find our contact information on this site.

Tyrone Lawrence

Tyrone Lawrence

Volunteer Tutor

Volunteer Tutor

New Location for our Graduation Ceremony on December 8

By: Joni Burnell, Volunteer Recruiter & Trainer

In just a few days, on December 8th, Begin Anew will celebrate our graduates!  It is a very exciting time as we pause to think about how far our students have come and pray for them as they consider where they will go from here on their journey forward.

While this celebration is an unchanging tradition for us, at least one thing will be different.  We will be in a new location this time.  Eastland Baptist Church at 1215 Gallatin Ave. in Nashville will be providing their space for our event, and we would like to express our deep gratitude to this church and to Pastor Jason Rumbaugh for his gracious hospitality toward Begin Anew.  If you would like to visit, they offer Sunday School classes at 9:30 AM, and they have a café that serves coffee and doughnuts from 10:30 -10:50 am.  Sunday morning service begins at 10:50 am. 

God seems to be very busy at work in our midst, calling on us all to learn new things, meet new people, rise to new challenges, and go to new places.  It can feel unsettling for us sometimes as we are thrust into change, but one thing we can be sure will always be the same…  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; and great is His faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23.

Heather Norvell Named Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee Executive Director



Heather Norvell Named Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee Executive Director

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (November 12, 2018) Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee, formerly Christian Women’s Job Corps, announces today that Heather Norvell has been named the ministry’s Executive Director. Rebekah (Becky) K. Sumrall recently retired after 18 years of faithful service.

Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee believes everyone deserves a second chance. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowers women and men to overcome life-changing obstacles caused by poverty with education, mentoring, and resources.

The organization provides three curriculum tracks for adult-aged students: high school equivalency/HiSet (GED) test preparation, computer and job skills, and English as a Second Language (ESL) training. Enrollment is free and open to persons of all faiths and culture. Free childcare is provided to students as well as one-on-one mentoring.

“The staff and volunteers of Begin Anew ultimately offer hope to those in need. I am thankful to serve an organization committed to walking alongside our students while empowering and encouraging them to grow as they step into their future, and it brings great joy to celebrate our graduates and their amazing journeys,” states Heather.

Heather’s 23 years of experience includes leadership positions in ministry and commercial business, including ministry responsibilities at Long Hollow Baptist Church, The People’s Church (now Church of the City), and Brentwood Baptist Church. She spent more than 15 years in leadership positions at area-businesses relative to their financial functions.

Heather has previously served as board member and treasurer for The Refuge Center for Counseling in Franklin. Other volunteer work includes apprenticeships for The Charles Simeon Trust and The Giving Circle.

A graduate in business administration from Belmont University, Heather earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Heather and her husband Michael live in Brentwood with their two children.

Begin Anew of Middle Tennessee conducts its programming at six area locations in Nashville, Madison, and Franklin. Learn more about ways to donate and become involved at Connect with their mission on Twitter (@BeginAnewMidTN), Facebook (@BeginAnewMiddleTN), and YouTube.

Time to Celebrate Our Volunteers!!

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This week, Begin Anew of Middle TN celebrated some of our incredible volunteers at the Mary Catherine Strobel Award Luncheon! The room was filled with people who work and volunteer at local non-profits throughout Nashville. Truly, the room seemed to pulse with the energy of a people who truly care for this city. What an inspiring place to be!

Let me introduce you to some of our inspiring volunteers:

Linda Jones and Danni Hughes represented the group from Covenant Baptist Church. This amazing group has been serving meals about once a month to our Nashville site students for 3 years. This church provides Christmas presents for the students and snacks and juice boxes for the childcare program. Several of the ladies from Covenant Baptist are also serving as prayer partners or tutors on a weekly basis. We are absolutely blessed by them!

Another one of our amazing volunteers, Casey Enright, is the founder and director of The Word Wagon. The Word Wagon is a literacy organization dedicated to promoting childhood literacy by providing reading opportunities and reading materials for children who lack access to books. Casey brings The Word Wagon to our Begin Anew childcare program once a month and the kids love it! The kids jump for joy knowing that she is coming! She reads stories to groups and one-on-one with the students. Every time she comes, she sends each child home with a bundle of books. 

It was such a joy to celebrate some of the most selfless, compassionate, and loyal volunteers we are blessed to have on our team at the Mary Catherine Strobel Award Luncheon!