Doretha Newsome proudly walked the stage in recognition of achieving her HiSET at Begin Anew's December, 2018 graduation ceremony. Since December, she stayed busy and finds herself facing another graduation as her youngest daughter prepares to graduate from High School. Doretha's oldest daughter is a 3rd year student in college. As her schedule allows, Doretha joins the college fun as she takes a few classes at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin. She said, “I love how Begin Anew cares for their students and their well-being. A lot of ladies come in broken. I see compassion for them in the program.”
After graduating with her HiSET, Doretha learned about the continued care which Begin Anew offers. She manages her own business and wanted to market her hair salon. Where did she turn? She returned to Begin Anew for job/computer skills in order to receive the training needed to promote her workplace. Doretha loves Begin Anew and says, “It's a good place to start over, to begin, and to maximize resources. It's a good place.”
She treasures the Bible Begin Anew gave her at graduation with her name engraved on it. She still remembers as a teenager when the graduating seniors received Bibles from her home church, and she wished she could have graduated with her classmates. However, she recognizes, “There is a time and a season for everything.” She has learned patience and believes that God's spotlight shines on every person during a chosen time in her/her life. Doretha tries to live gratefully, humbly, and with integrity to be ready for her time.
ENJOY GREAT FOOD – INVEST IN LIVES
Purchasing a ticket, or more, to the 2019 Taste of Williamson event is the gift to yourself that will keep on giving. It is also a gift to Begin Anew to impact the lives of adult learners working hard on their second start in life. This year’s Taste of Williamson event will be held on Sunday, March 3 at the Cool Springs Galleria from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Almost 40 restaurants and caterers have signed up to date to be a part of this exciting event. Attendees will be able to receive two drinks, sample food, meet chefs and enjoy musical entertainment as they stroll throughout the Galleria.
Ticket purchasers will also receive even more! If you go out to enjoy any of these participating restaurants during restaurant week (March 4-8) and bring your ticket stub, you will receive 10% off (excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuity). And it doesn’t stop there! Participating caterers at the Taste of Williamson event will give 10% off box lunches ordered during restaurant week and used within 30 days. Some exclusions apply, but what a deal!!!
TICKETS ARE $35 IN ADVANCE AND $40 AT THE DOOR. BUY NOW!
And the deal doesn’t even stop there. By far the biggest gift you will receive goes beyond excellent food, favorite beverages and a relaxing evening out. It goes beyond additional savings at restaurant week. The biggest deal is investing in the lives of the students at Begin Anew.
Students who are engaging in English as a second language skills while receiving a second chance. Who have gathered the courage to prepare for their HiSET(GED) but receive a huge lift in confidence. Who study for job/computer skills and become a part of a larger community. Who develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or learn about him for the first time.
You would help students just like Mario. He began the work needed to receive his HiSET from Begin Anew. During the course of his studies and upon graduation, Mario went from part-time employee to full-time employee to manager to college student. Both of his sisters are now studying for their HiSET at Begin Anew. These siblings are breaking the ranks of the socio-economically disadvantaged because of your support.
Purchase a ticket to Taste of Williamson by calling Begin Anew at 615-244-3669 or emailing email@example.com. Tickets can also be picked up at our office at 420 Main Street, Nashville, TN 37206. Eat well and invest in lives today.
Click here to view a list of participating restaurants to date : https://tasteofwilliamson.com/restaurants
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!
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.
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
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 www.beginanew.org. Connect with their mission on Twitter (@BeginAnewMidTN), Facebook (@BeginAnewMiddleTN), and YouTube.
Life Lessons From Kids
At Begin Anew, we provide care for children who are just a few months from birth up to the tender age of 12 years old. At the Nashville site, every Monday and Thursday night while the moms study for the HiSET exam, the childcare workers and I work closely with their children on homework, learning activities, play, and most importantly, learning about God’s love for them. We want to teach the kids lessons that will help them strive to live a Christ-like life.
However, we may be overlooking the lessons that these kids are teaching us. A child’s innocence can give adults a fresh perspective on life. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from kids at Begin Anew:
Playtime is essential –
At Begin Anew childcare, we love to have fun! From board games, to charades, to playing tag on the playground, these kids are always up for playtime.
Playtime is necessary for adults too. Taking time outside of work and responsibilities to relax and do things we love is important. God wants us to enjoy our time on earth as we serve Him. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24 ESV).
Ask for help when you need it –
Whether it’s help with a math worksheet or tying a shoe, kids usually aren’t afraid to ask for assistance.
As adults, we often feel like we have to do everything on our own. We are expected to know all the answers at work and in life right off the bat. This of course is not always the case. God wants us to humble ourselves and never be afraid to ask Him or our brothers and sisters in Christ for help. “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2 ESV).
Find joy in small places –
Many of the toddlers get excited to see an airplane or birds flying above them. They dance around the playground as they notice the little things that adults often dismiss.
Another lesson we learn from our kids is to take a moment to appreciate and accept that God is the creator of all things. Finding joy in God’s smallest creations is something we can all try to do a little more often. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14 NIV).
As God’s children, we never stop learning. Every day is an opportunity to get closer to Him. I thank God for the opportunity to work in childcare at Begin Anew, to teach and to be taught.
Kara Weller, childcare coordinator, Nashville site
Begin Anew at Woodbine Church of Christ welcomed HCA (Hospital Corporation Of America) for it’s annual Community Service Project. A group of eleven employees came ready to roll up their sleeves and help with various assignments throughout the facility.
We were grateful they were able to assist with: writing notes of encouragement to students, washing and cleaning windows and tables throughout the educational building and chapel, cleaning and disinfecting toys in the childcare center as well as sorting clothing and shoes for our “shopping day” event coming up in December.
Sandra Hunter, Program Director shared an overview of Begin Anew’s mission, programs, and classes provided. Begin Anew serves a student population representing thirteen countries from around the world. Joni Burnell, Volunteer Recruiter/Trainer was on hand to share volunteer opportunities available for our multiple sites (Woodbine, Madison, Nashville, and Williamson). Also, it was great to have Debbie Rutland, Program Manager, stop by to greet and personally thank HCA employees/volunteers for their outstanding service.
As the day soon came to a close, HCA employees/volunteers thoroughly enjoyed their Community Service Project with Woodbine Begin Anew and are looking forward to returning next year!
“Regardless of what came before or has yet to come, what matters most at this point in time is how I choose to respond to the challenges before me. Will I lie down or will I fight? The choice is mine and I choose to Finish Strong.” – Dan Green
Mario Lee was a hard-working man raising a family when he made the decision to begin something new. It had been about ten years since Mario had been a student when he decided to go back to school to earn his High School Equivalency diploma. He enrolled at the Madison Men’s site of Begin Anew in November, 2016 and it was obvious from the first day that he was ready for the challenge. He jumped in and began studying the subject that many find very intimidating – math. He was dedicated to attending class and made good use of his time and resources. Mario studied with numerous tutors, learning from them what he knew he needed to succeed.
Mario embraced the whole experience of Begin Anew. He always came to class with a positive attitude and was an encouraging force to others in the program. He was ready for the community in the classroom and was an important part of the “brotherhood” that has developed at the Madison Men’s site.
The spiritual component of Begin Anew includes a weekly Bible for the students. Mario entered this time with enthusiasm and a desire to grow and learn. He spoke of the meaningful experience Bible study was for him and it was clear that he wanted to grow in his understanding and experience with God and Christ, our Savior.
Mario studied hard and passed all of the HiSET exams, graduating from Begin Anew on June 2, 2018. He has enrolled at Nashville State Community College and is moving ahead to new opportunities and challenges in his work with Nashville Parks and Recreation. Mario’s life has been positively impacted by his experience at Begin Anew. He has finished strong and is now beginning anew with his future endeavors. Godspeed, Mario! You have made us proud.
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!
Unlocking Potential was the theme of Begin Anew’s fundraising event on April 12th. It was a time to celebrate and challenge all current and future students, volunteers and donors in how God, through Begin Anew, can unlock our potential and find a future and a hope. Helping to unlock the evening was “Channel 4 News Today” co-anchor Holly Thompson in her 14th year to emcee the event. Honorary Chair, Mary Frances Turner, spoke to the 400 guests that evening about how her relationship with God and reliance on His promises helped her discover and unlock her potential in ways she never could have imagined. Vocal trio Carrie Greening, Carrie King and Stephanie Moore beautifully sang traditional hymns, providing inspiration and reflection.
Video and live student testimonies gave evidence of how Begin Anew has opened doors. Beautiful, smiling faces of Begin Anew students adorned the screen as they described how they were able to unlock their potential and find hope and a future. Mario, a graduate from the Madison Men’s program shared: “I got involved in gangs, been through a lot of failures. To succeed at Begin Anew . . . I have a lot of doors opened for me now, especially since I graduated: I’m on my way to college, I’m married, looking to buy a home.
Thank you to our amazing Fundraising Committee! And thank you to everyone actively serving, financially supporting and faithfully praying for Begin Anew! Your support continues to unlock doors and provide students the keys they need to be successful.
We always thought so. Now Ron Hibbard Toyota in Gallatin has named Begin Anew one of the Best Places to Volunteer! Here is a link to their article; www.ronhibbardtoyota.com/2018/04/02/places-to-volunteer-gallatin-tn/
In February, my ESL Level 2 class studied the story of God’s people being taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The story resonated deeply with the students. All of them are refugees or immigrants. They have experienced many challenges in making the United States their new home. They too have lost family members due to conflict in their home countries or have left behind loved ones who are still in perilous situations. The advice God gave to the Israelite people to build houses, settle down, plant gardens, be good citizens, pray for the people of the city where you have been sent is just as applicable to them.
As I told the story that night, I was reminded of the power and the relevancy of God’s Word. Each week at the Woodbine site, we tell Bible stories to our students. Students from around the world with different religious backgrounds are united as we come together for Bible study. Some have never heard the stories we are telling. This particular story ended with words of encouragement for them and for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation (NLT)
Charlotte Hanson, Woodbine Program Director
Have you noticed that when you see someone smile, you are likely to smile back?
Each week at Begin Anew, I see smiles (joy) on the faces of our students, their children, and our volunteers. Here are some recent examples:
1. I saw joy when a student learned she had finally passed her Hi-SET Math exam after attempting to pass it for the past 4 years.
2. I saw joy when a student learned a group of individuals had paid her monthly rent. The student works at a fast-food restaurant and had missed several days of work to stay home with her sick children.
3. I saw joy when a student and her Begin Anew Encourager saw each other on the first night of class after being out for Christmas break.
4. I saw joy when a potential student learned that Begin Anew offered free childcare. She dropped out of her GED classes 2 years ago because she had a baby and could not find childcare.
5. I saw joy when a student shared that she and her children had recently gone to church for the first time in several years.
6. I saw joy when a student shared that her Begin Anew Prayer Partner had met with her to talk and to spend time together.
7. I saw joy when a student and her tutor celebrated that she passed her driver’s test after they had studied for the test together.
Many of our students’ lives are filled with stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. But at Begin Anew, they receive love, support, and encouragement. I am thankful to be part of an organization that seeks to improve the social and emotional health of our students. I can’t wait to see where I will see smiles next!
Tracey Gholson, Nashville Program Director
As the New Year starts in full swing, resolutions seem to be taking over our world once again. Along with the resolutions to be more fit and frugal, we have a challenge for the people of Middle Tennessee:
Would you resolve to call the hearts and hands of those around you to serve the students of Begin Anew?
This year, we are kicking off 2018 with the resolution to grow our volunteer base, and we cannot do that without your help. Whether you are a current volunteer, a supporter, or someone who has been praying for us fervently, we would love your partnership in this journey. It is a journey to fill three major needs of Begin Anew: the need for tutors (25), prayer partners (80), and childcare workers (15). With our 7 locations we have many opportunities to tutor, pray for a student, and help with child care.
Over the next few months, we are challenging all current volunteers to reach out to the people around you to support the incredible Begin Anew students and families. Will you partner with us today? Will you reach out to your Sunday School class? Will you bring along your husband or wife? How about bringing your older teenagers along to work in childcare?
Help us reach our resolution this year. And at the same time, create one of your own. We are so grateful for all you have done for us in your volunteering, your giving, and your prayers thus far, and we are thrilled to see how God will continue to use you in the lives of our students in the months to come. Today, we pray 1 Corinthians 15:58 over you: “Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Could God be calling you to step out in faith and be a tutor, prayer partner or child care worker to bring His hope to a person struggling to overcome the obstacles caused by poverty?
My name is Guadalupe Chavez-Salgado. I have been studying ESL at the Woodbine site since January, 2016. Begin Anew has given me the opportunity to become more confident. I have learned English, but I have also gained other knowledge that has impacted my life. I have been a part of the Christmas Around the World program at the church and also read scripture on a Sunday morning. I am serving as a translator for the Medical Dental Unit at the church. I work with two nurses in gathering information from patients who are being evaluated for basic medical needs. This has allowed me to learn medical terminology that is helpful in my new employment. I am currently working in the office of an Assisted Living home. As I am filing papers in the office, I recognize vocabulary that I have learned at MDU and I’m also learning new medical vocabulary.
“Success is the sum of small efforts day after day.” (Robert Collier) I have found that “it takes courage to grow up and become the person you really are.” (ee cummings) I would like to thank my family and the Begin Anew volunteers for their support and patience. I could not have accomplished this goal without their help.
I would like to close by saying, “Remember to follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose in life.” (Oprah Winfrey)
If you missed the Begin Anew Winter Graduation on December 9th, you missed an exciting celebration!
The room was full to capacity as family members, friends, and supporters of the 36 graduates cheered, rejoiced and even shed a tear or two celebrating the accomplishments of those walking across the stage to accept that long anticipated certificate of diploma.
This was the largest graduating class for Begin Anew. What a wonderful achievement to have so many graduates in the 20th anniversary year. It only speaks to what lies ahead for Begin Anew.
As the ceremony progressed, each Program Director reflected on the successes they had seen in their students. Their encouraging testimonies highlighted the hard work done not just by the students but also the teachers, tutors, encouragers, prayer partners and bible study leaders who provide such a united wave of support to help the students make positive changes in their lives.
Also in the room were many board members and financial supporters who, without their continued support and commitment, Begin Anew could not be the organization that it is.
Each student that spoke during the ceremony shared their personal journey; you could see the impact they felt by being in the Begin Anew program.
Needless to say there was much love in the room as we celebrated with the graduates, especially during this special time of the year, the holiday season. What an incredible organization that never loses site of our ultimate purpose which is to draw others closer to Jesus Christ. No better gift to give to another, than the chance to Begin Anew.
When someone asks me what I do for a living, I can give the short answer that speaks of helping men prepare for the HiSET exams so that they can get their high school equivalency certificate. There is also a long answer – which is more of an essay. This is because Begin Anew is so much more than getting an educational certificate, (although that is important), the program of Begin Anew is a ministry.
Josh is a good example of how Begin Anew desires to bring growth and newness in many areas of our students’ lives. When he enrolled at Begin Anew, Josh was not attending church. After being encouraged by his mentor, Josh found a loving church near his home and got involved. He attended a camp, made a profession of faith and was baptized into the fellowship of this local church.
Another impact Begin Anew has had in Josh’s life is that of helping him find a good job. Application after application led nowhere so I decided to approach a personal friend about giving Josh a job. He was happy to do so and Josh soon started work. Working was good for him and he quickly began to save his money so that he could buy a car. He reached that goal, paid cash for his car, and also got his driver’s license. Unfortunately, someone hit Josh and caused some minor damage. Nevertheless, this was another opportunity for growth in Josh’s life; we walked through it with him and he managed it well.
Begin Anew is helping Josh with his educational goals, but the growth and maturity that we have seen in him is also rewarding and an important part of what we are about. We are not a program that is one-dimensional, but we are a ministry that is multi-faceted, bringing encouragement, hope, healing, as well as educational growth.
Scott Payne, Madison Men's Program Director