Step uP Chattanooga
2019 Annual Report: by Stephanie Toombs
Step uP Chattanooga began a new venture this past year with the Reentry program for women at the Silverdale Detention Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We offered two 14-week ‘Work Life’ classes meeting once weekly for two-hour sessions. Each participant was screened and selected by the Reentry Supervisor, Ms. Wendy Harris. Six women graduated from our first class and four from our second class.
‘Work LIfe,’ is a biblically integrated job preparedness curriculum designed specifically for people from backgrounds of generational poverty, and developed by The Chalmers Center, Chattanooga, TN. In addition to practical job skills, the curriculum empowers participants to recognize that God is at work in the world and that their jobs are a way of participating in that work.
Six classroom allies were trained to interact with the participants, forming relationships while providing guidance, prayer, and direction, as well as assistance with homework, and resumes.
In November we had our first ‘Come to Jesus’ event for the 50 women in the Reentry program with the theme of ‘Step uP and Overcome.’ Several women responded to an invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. More women stepped forward to express their desire to realign their lives with God’s plans and purposes through repentance and prayer. There were 20 volunteers from the outside to play key roles including worship, pastor, interpretive dance, a speaker from the District Attorney’s office, communion, and prayer, as well as facilitators, set up/break down team, and food servants. We were able to provide Christian books and bibles adding to their library and offered Bible study correspondence through Christian Library International. We also provided food, snacks, and drinks that were all donated, and distributed goody bags collected from different churches to each woman.
2020 will bring two more ‘Work Life’ classes, and holding our second ‘Come to Jesus’ event, as well as provide resources for the outside. There is much to be done to help these women transition. We are praying for community resources, transitional housing and programs for them, and for board members (secretary, treasurer, lawyer), prayer partners, and churches to continue expansion of Step-uP outreaches.
Note to readers: We covet your prayers, and financial support. Step uP is only able to provide these services because of individual support from people like yourself.