On Thursday night, September 15th, the Madison Church of Christ gymnasium was adorned with beautiful yellow mums wrapped in festive ribbon and burlap. Guests were treated to the classic, comforting taste of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and yummy homemade pies. The evening began with the video released earlier this year that announced our new name for the ministry, Begin Anew. Though some things have changed, many things remain the same – Begin Anew’s Madison Fundraiser event captured the same spirit and love that the (formerly CWJC) ministry has demonstrated since 2003.
Our emcee for the evening was Channel 4 morning news anchor, Rudy Kalis. As an immigrant to this country at age five, Rudy recognized the language and educational challenges he had to overcome and the importance of key mentors and teachers in this life. Rudy’s testimony was a powerful affirmation to the work Begin Anew is doing in our English and High School Equivalency classes.
Jesus Torres and Takeyla Hanger, two current students from the Madison site, shared on video their experiences of being in the Begin Anew program. They both acknowledged the significance of having people in their lives to encourage them as they pursue their goals of receiving a high school diploma. Jesus is looking forward to the day when he can toss his cap in the air at Begin Anew’s graduation celebration.
The life and work of Dawn Ferguson was also honored that evening as Diana Rodriguez accepted the first Dawn Ferguson Scholarship award to continue her college education. Diana, a Begin Anew graduate and mother of two girls, spoke sincerely from the heart, recognizing the tremendous impact that Dawn and so many others at Madison’s Begin Anew site had on her.
We were further blessed and inspired by the incredible voices of 1WORD. These talented vocalists from Madison, TN helped us celebrate the love of God through A cappella music, utilizing tight harmonies and creative rhythm phrasing.
In January of this year, we added a new site in the Woodbine area and have the opportunity for an additional satellite location to be added in South Nashville by next year. Special events such as these are so important for the future of Begin Anew! Special thanks go to: Pinnacle Financial Partners, Madison Church of Christ, 1WORD, Diana Rodriguez, Chick-Fil-A, Marilyn Spicer (photographer) and Rudy Kalis. Thank you to all table hosts for the evening, our student volunteers from the Madison site and Begin Anew staff: Nicole Hudson, Scott Payne and Andrea Waters. Special thanks to Todd Hibbs (sound, lights, video), Tommy Cothron, Rev. Ken Castleberry and to the Madison Fundraising Committee: Sheila Allen, Natalie Coleman, Patti Garafola, Jan Hoppes, Pam Morris, Patti Stewart and Becky Sumrall.