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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Organizing Committee of the Great Golden Gathering - Christmas Dinner

Representatives of 6 of the 15 former African-American High Schools in upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, gathered to have a Christmas dinner on Saturday, December 12th.

The event was held at the Carver Recreation Center in Johnson City, and was hosted by the Langston Heritage Group, Langston High School.

Click on the arrow below and turn your computer speakers on, to see a slide show of the dinner:

By the way, in case you haven't heard... based on the success of the Great Golden Gathering 2015 Reunion, the Organizing Committee did vote to continue the tradition of get-togethers.

There will be another Great Golden Gathering in 2017, celebrating and continuing the friendships, the education and the family relationships the alumni of all the 15 high schools share.  Spread the word... we want to make the next reunion even bigger and better with even more schools involved.  The Organizing Committee wants and appreciates participation from all the schools' alumni.  To get involved, all schools alumni associations are invited to have representatives on the Organizing Committee.  Please contact Calvin Sneed at  Thank you for your continued support!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Girls Inc. marks 'The Big 5-0'

This story courtesy the Kingsport Times-News

By Katherine Scoggins

Fifty years ago, The Girls Club of Kingsport met in a large white house located at 1102 Mill Street under the direction of Betty Newman Iverson. At the time, Girls Clubs had as their focus “to prepare girls to be better wives and mothers.” To that end, the domestic arts - cooking, sewing and household management - were stressed.

Over the next few decades, the Girls Clubs underwent major changes; growing into a national, then international association - marked by the name change in 1991 to Girls Incorporated: Strong, Smart and Bold. From that point on, education, wellness and an holistic approach to growing up were emphasized, while life skills, such as sewing, cooking, nutrition, arts and heritage were incorporated as “teaching moments.” History has it that a young girl in a focus group told the organization that the new name should be Girls Incorporated, because “growing up is serious business.”

It is a slogan that Girls Incorporated takes very seriously.

   Girls Inc. of Kingsport was also undergoing major changes within its organization. A large new building, equipped with classrooms and offices, a playground, fields for various sports, a gym and kitchen, was built. Additional staff was added for classroom and off-site instruction, transportation and security. The land was given to Girls Inc. of Kingsport by Mac Houkom, while funding for the new site was kicked off by the local chapter of Business & Professional Women. The remaining monies were raised by the community and United Fund. The building was dedicated debt-free.

   A name change, the dramatic shift in purpose, and a beautiful new facility all helped raise awareness and bring attention to the “new” look of Girls Incorporated, but there is much more to the success of the local agency.

   “From day one, the directors and staff have had vision, outstanding business sense, and dedication,” says Julie Wright Short, the current president and CEO of Girls Inc. of Kingsport. “But not just the employees: we have been very fortunate to have strong board leadership over the years and high expectations from staff, volunteers and the board. It has been decades of work by many, many individuals and groups, all focused on excellence and success for the future.”

The success of the agency is apparent as one enters the building and sees the “trophy case” filled with plaques Girls Inc. of Kingsport has been awarded over the years.

   “The awards are due to the hard work of everyone, not just the executive director,” says Wright Short. “Betty Iverson took the concept of the Girls Club and made it a success; Brenda White-Wright exposed so many, many people to what we do in Kingsport’s agency; Nada Weekly kept our organization and facility afloat during a terrible recession; and Lana Moore, while not an executive director, served on staff during the late 90s and early 2000s as program director.” While Wright Short has not finished her tenure, the Girls Inc. Affiliate of the Year Award for the Southeastern United States, Expansion Award, and Outstanding Girl awards in that trophy case are certainly a result of her leadership skills, hard work and genuine love of the girls she serves.

Chyna Robinson is a 14-year-old student at Dobyns-Bennett High School and a current participant at Girls Inc. of Kingsport. Talking with her, one can not help but be drawn to her naturally outgoing, bubbly personality. Although she’s involved in many activities at Girls Inc., she says her favorite is the Ambassador’s Club, a group of older girls who mentor fourth- and fifth-grade girls, setting a good example and encouraging them. Most of all, though, she says they listen. A great believer that “every child has potential,” Chyna loves working with young children and hopes to one day work with them on a professional level. She has found that her experience working with the younger girls has taught her patience, good communication skills, and the importance of accountability.

   Chyna is a wonderful advocate for Girls Inc., possibly because she has some history on her side: both her mother and grandmother attended Girls Inc.

   Strong, Smart and Bold ... generation after generation.

   To learn more about the programs or how you can support the Girls Inc. of Kingsport effort,  , Girls Inc. of Kingsport on Facebook, or call 423-247-2321

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Riverview Seniors Christmas Dinner

Welcome to the 2015 Riverview Seniors Christmas Dinner!

The event was held on Saturday, December 5, 2015 in the Douglass Room at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex, sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development.

Seniors of our community were treated to a song by New Vision Youth member Makiyah Blye, poem by member Feliciana Banks, inspirational songs by Sister Lisa McElrath and a "super salute" to Chef Orvil Bond, who fixed and coordinated the holiday meal for the seniors.

The highlight of the event was a mini fashion show featuring some of our seniors modeling their beautiful fashions.

Click on the arrow below and turn your speakers up to see and hear a slide show of the dinner: