Category Archives: Make a Difference

Projects that are making a difference, improving lives, and building communities.

One Million Children Flee – By Chelsea Liu

I recently came across an article titled “Millionth Child Flees Syria” on Yahoo News. The picture under the headline was one of a young girl, with dark circles under her eyes, staring hauntingly at the camera. She’s pretty, too, with curly brown hair that many people try to imitate using hair gel. In the West—perhaps in Canada—she would be going to school in a few years, wearing nice clothes and hanging out with friends. She might meet even meet a guy.

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Each Camino is Unique — La Paz

Roberto Rios was the first in his Latino family to “set foot on American soil,” as he described it. Roberto was embarking on a college career at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. The son of a Church of Christ minister, Roberto spent the majority of his 23 years involved in the church in his hometown of Lima, Peru. A move to America away from all his family was not going to change his Hispanic heritage. When Roberto graduated two years later with a degree in computer information systems, he quickly secured a job in computer networking in Arizona. After marrying his bride Jeana, he moved his family back to Lima where their first child was born. “We really wanted our child to be born in Peru,” said Roberto who anticipated returning to the States.

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Real-life Cultural Clashes are Diversity Lessons — La Paz

When 25-year-old Lucia Montas moved to the City of Chattanooga, it was the first time in her life to live in a multicultural place where the Hispanic people and the Latino culture were not the majority in the population. As she described, it was the first time that she experienced the diversity, the culture clash and felt that she was living in the United States.

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Developing a Latina Leader — La Paz

La Paz de Dios is the trusted guide for the Latino community in Chattanooga. Bridging the diverse Latino community to local and regional community resources, La Paz also provides service organizations a network in the Chattanooga community for those seeking to serve Latinos and learn how to better access and gain the trust of that population. Since its formation in 2004, La Paz has sought to identify and address the social and humanitarian needs of the immigrant Latino community, locate and foster relationships with trusted organizations that can serve them, and provide the community with the confidence, capability, and education to become self-sufficient and resourceful. The mission of La Paz is to enable individuals to become more engaged community members to create a healthy, culturally inclusive Chattanooga.

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American Women to Remember – by Kimberly Nelson

In honor of Women’s History Month, I share with you my five most admired American women. Dynamic and diverse, my fab five are versatile females who defied convention and sidestepped traditional boundaries. From the outspoken survivor, to the fashionista turned politician, to a daughter carrying on her father’s legacy, these courageous women exemplify the American role model. Gutsy, generous, innovative, and graceful under pressure, Molly, Margaret, Odetta, Millicent, and Marlo inspire me. With accomplishments spanning over eighty years, each one is determined and driven, feisty and fabulous, colorful and full of character.

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All Eyes on African American Dance — by Jennifer Smith

Cultures all over the world have individual artistic expressions that set them apart. One of these unique gifts that varies between people groups is the art of dance. African tribal dances began to shape and define their culture long before it transferred to America. Modern day African American dance has been revolutionized into a creative expression of talent and movement. These exceptional stylistic qualities can be seen in specialized dance companies like that of Alvin Ailey. The heart and soul that comes out through their artistic talents compels generations everywhere.

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5 Tips for Southern Yankees — by Kimberly Nelson

In the 1956 film “Good-bye My Lady,” Walter Brennan says to a fellow Southerner: “Had a tourist here once – a Yankee that got bit by a snake. Snake died.” It must have been fate that compelled me to watch this outdated, random movie on a Saturday morning while preparing to write this article. “Good-bye My Lady” contains several such jabs that made me laugh even though it is not a comedy and not even about Yankees. I hear quips like this every day from people who don’t realize that I’m a Northern transplant and not native to the South. So, after sixteen years in Chattanooga TN, and ten years previously in Atlanta, I would like to offer my top five tips for a successful transition into Southern living. By the way, to Southerners, a Yankee is anyone not from the South, not necessarily someone from the Northeast.

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Universities Revamp Grades – by Melanie Mayne

How much do grades actually matter in the real world? A letter doesn’t say much about what a person can do. A percentage doesn’t tell you how to do it better. In the real life, we are not graded. Life is too complicated to sum it up with a single letter. That’s why colleges and universities all over the world have revamped their grading policies.

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Talking About Racism Can Close the Gap – By John H. Davis

Human beings are generally fearful of the unknown, the strange and the unusual. We rightfully warn our children to be aware of and avoid strangers. We place things of an unfamiliar nature in boxes labeled beware, dangerous, harmful or not to be trusted. Thus, a stranger is to be feared. This sets the stage for hatred. To a large degree, people of all ethnic groups tend to be xenophobic, very often without really recognizing it. Xenophobia causes fear, and sometimes fear naturally generates hatred.

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