Brooke F -- June 2022
Giving Back Locally
Hello all…Brooke here! Some of the things I love most about this city are, in fact, the people who call it home. When I moved to Chattanooga in 2019, I could sense that something was happening here. It seemed like every person I met was passionate about making the world a better place, each in their own unique way. Better yet, they believed that change, the kind that has longevity and is far reaching, starts in your own community.
After being here for three years, I'm still inspired by the people who are continually showing up for this city and feel so lucky to be able to come alongside them in their work. If you’re reading this and thinking, “Wow, I love my city too and would love to learn about different ways to get involved in making it better” you’re in luck, because I’d like to highlight 3 great organizations we truly believe are doing great things around here – and who would love to have you join their cause!
The first organization I’d like to spotlight is near and dear to my heart, as my closest friend, Sydney, is the founder. Sydney started BTCYI (Be The Change Youth Initiative) when she was just 15…wow!..with a desire to encourage youth to use their interests + talents to make a difference. Today, the organization has grown and changed so much, but at the heart of her family’s work is still the desire to make sure youth are seen, heard, and loved.
One of the ways they accomplish this is through fundraising for organizations that directly work with and empower youth. The current initiative they are fundraising for is our local Songbirds Foundation, Guitars for Kids campaign. Sydney and her brother are musicians who write music that brings awareness to mental health struggles and often they perform and share stories. Seeing the impact music has had in their own lives, they are so excited to come alongside Songbirds in a mission that provides guitar lessons, music therapy, and other musical experiences to youth across TN/GA.
You can help by:
- Donating directly to Songbird's Foundation
- Purchasing a BTCYI t-shirt to rock around town!
- Hosting an event where Syd + Bray can come share music & their story (highly recommend, if good music is something you're into)
- My favorite option, though (especially if you have kids who have a gift or interest, like baking or building legos) is to do a fundraising packet together! BTCYI provides an easy-to-follow packet that gives you everything you and your child need to make a difference in the way that speaks to your family.
I really encourage you to reach out to these wonderful folks and simply start a conversation if you’re curious about what they do or want to learn about other ways to get involved. They love meeting new people and definitely know the best spots in town to meet up over coffee!
Instagram: @bethechangeyi and @inthecompanyofwolvesindie
Brooke sporting her BTCYI shirt in the shoppe!
We LOVE the Chattanooga Community Fridge here at Sophie’s! If you don't know who they are, the Chatt Community Fridge is a “Mutual Aid project providing freestanding outdoor fridges filled with fresh produce and pantry goods.” Basically, they exist to encourage local communities to provide for one another, no questions asked. Anyone can “take what they need, leave what they can” as this effort is about empowerment and mutual support.
There are two locations here in Chatt that you can invest in, and we like to go about twice a month to one location, stocking up the fridge and pantry with goodies in a big drop. If you can’t manage a full restock, don’t worry! There are so many ways to invest in this awesome work!
Ways to support
- Deep clean the fridge…everyone wants a clean space to home their groceries!
- Grab just one extra *whatever fresh food you buy at the store* when you can + drop it at the fridge… (popsicles are the perfect one-off item for the summer)
- Grocery shop for the Chatt Fridge Team…they can send you a list of needed items + can reimburse you!
- Leave bags (planet friendly + reusable) for your neighbors to shop with
Chatt Fridge Locations:
- 1918 Union Ave Chattanooga, TN 37404
- 3300 Brannon Ave Chattanooga, TN 37407
A picture we snapped after stocking the fridge with goodies!
Northside Neighborhood House is an incredible local non-profit (right up the street from us) that aims to empower individuals to build a better future through education and assistance. What I love is that the origin of this organization simply starts with some ladies from our neighborhood recognizing needs and taking action to help their neighbors…so basic and yet, what a difference being a good neighbor can make. Whether it was providing the community with a kindergarten class when there wasn't one, or teaching women to sew blankets as a means to be self-sufficient, from the beginning they’ve been about offering a hand up, not a hand out!
With this desire to create thriving communities across Chattanooga, NNH continues today to come alongside neighbors to get them connected to a support system that helps create stability for themselves and their families. They do this through their Community School effort, the NNH Stability Program, Thrift Stores, and community events like the Not-So-Silent Auction and Stuffing Strut 5k. This network of students, neighbors, NNH staff, volunteers + donors all come together to create our enriched community of North Chattanooga. So how can you become part of this wonderful effort? Well…
How to Help
- Donate! A great option is to donate clothes + household items to their thrift store right here in North Shore (or Red Bank + Soddy Daisy). Almost half of NNH’s income comes from these stores, so involvement in this way is so helpful! (Also shopping there can be fun too!) Visit this page to find location of thrift stores, hours, a donation tax form + a donation item list form.
- Volunteer! There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, whether in the thrift stores, in schools through their CommUNITY School effort, or for their events like the Stuffing Strut 5k. Building relationships with others in our community brings us all together in such a simple way. Fill out their volunteer form here, and email it to Relationship Manager Dakota Gouger at email@example.com!
- Connect! A great way to get involved is to simply be in the know of what’s going on around our community. Following their social pages or receiving their monthly newsletter is not only really encouraging to the organization, but is also an easy way for you to get connected. Check out their Facebook page or monthly e-newsletter!
NNH Thrift Locations:
- 209 Minor St, Chattanooga, TN 37405
- 3605 Dayton Blvd, Red Bank, TN 37415
- 10161 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
Instagram: @nnhouse or @nnhthrifts
Come visit their thrift location in the Northshore!
I hope you feel inspired by these three awesome, local organizations and decide to reach out + get involved! We have such a beautiful city full of beautiful people who genuinely want to cultivate good here and how wonderful is it that we get to be part of that story?? If you ever need a buddy to tag along to Be The Change Music Events, or want someone to walk you through your first time restocking the Chatt Fridge, or need a friend to run the Stuffing Strut 5k (ask me in a couple months…) with let me know! Seriously, come in the store and say hi and we can start a conversation. Together is better and I would be stoked to offer support and solidarity as we all venture towards a better Chattanooga.