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Monday, September 30, 2013

Local encounter leads to unique ministry at St Matthew UMC

Local encounter leads to unique ministry at St. Matthew UMC Kingsport Times News
A simple request made during a routine stop was enough to prompt a response from Ray Amos Jr., pastor at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Kingsport.
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Kingsport, Tennessee – If you saw someone who was hungry, would you give him something to eat?  If you saw someone who was shivering on a cold, dark night, would you give him a blanket or provide shelter?  If you saw a mother and child struggling to escape an abusive situation, would you give them a safe haven?  If you saw a child having a hard time with her school work, would you volunteer as a tutor?  When you support United Way, you are helping in situations just like these and many more every day.

   The annual United Way of Greater Kingsport (UWGK) community campaign has kicked off and the Pacesetter companies, along with other workplace campaigns, are beginning to report their results.  To date, UWGK has raised $1,472,500 (38%) of its $3.875 million goal. “So that we can continue to create opportunities for a better life, United Way leadership increased the goal by $125,000 (3.5%).  The increase will not only help us to meet needs, but it will also help us to address problems with solutions that generate lasting positive change,” said Campaign Chair Roger Smith.  This report is the first step in reaching our goal.  We need everyone in the community to give what they can.  Every gift, large and small, will work toward United Way’s goal of improving lives in our community.  

The people in our community have a true caring and giving spirit.  Most of our citizens understand that we all benefit when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people have access to healthy lifestyles.  That is why it is so important that those of us who have stable employment reach out a hand to help others with what they need to have a good life,” continued Smith.  “When you GIVE, ADVOCATE , and VOLUNTEER, you help real people make real progress.”  

One way that United Way is trying to create lasting change is through the work of the vision councils.  United Way of Greater Kingsport’s 44 programs and its initiatives are aligned around four focus areas:  Helping Children and Youth Succeed, Promoting Self-Sufficiency, Ensuring Safety and Stability, and Supporting Aging with Choices.  Volunteers and community experts in each of these areas are working to set priorities which will really make a difference in the community.  It takes everyone in the community working together to create a brighter futurefor all of us,” said United Way Board President Greg Nelson.

“You may not think your contribution can have that much of an impact,” commentedSmith, “but consider this: A contribution of a $1 a week ($52) will provide a hot meal for 23homebound seniors, but it goes much further than providing a hot meal.  It provides family members with the assurance that someone is checking on their loved one once a day.  It enablesseniors who cannot prepare their own meals to remain in their own homes instead of having to move to an assisted living facility.  Please join me in giving to make a difference in the lives of our friends, our neighbors, and our loved ones.”

Citizens in the greater Kingsport area may participate in the United Way campaign through their workplace or through direct mail if they are not employed outside the home.  If someone has not had the opportunity to contribute through their workplace or by mail, he/shemay make a pledge by calling 378-3409, visiting the United Way office at 301 Louis St., Suite 201, or pledging online at  “We’re just real people making real progress to build real community, and we hope you’ll join us,” concluded Smith.



United Way of Greater Kingsport’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community toaddress local health and human service needs effectively.  The vision of the organization is to be a model of excellence in achieving community health and human service solutions.  The core values (caring, collaboration, excellence, integrity and service) guide the organization in achieving the mission and vision.


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Much-loved Kingsport pediatrician set to retire

Much-loved Kingsport pediatrician set to retire Kingsport Times News
KINGSPORT — After 20 years in Kingsport and thousands of patients, Dr. Arthur Garrett has ... Garrett, a pediatrician practicing in Kingsport, will retire on Friday.
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News From Sullivan County Schools

September 27, 2013
In This Issue
Innovation Academy News
MPE 4th Graders Take on Cardboard Challenge
Colonial Heights Parent Involvement Night
ISE Celebrates Grandparent's Day
Emmett Elementary News
RSE Kicks Off EPIC Campaign
Important Dates
October 7
Board Meeting - 6:30 p.m.
October 14-18
Schools Closed
Fall Break
November 4
Board Meeting - 6:30 p.m.
November 27-29
Schools Closed
Thanksgiving Break
Quick Links

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Access any Sullivan County School library collection. 

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Innovation Academy News
Eighth grade students at Innovation Academy in Kingsport, Tennessee, finished up their first STEM I class this week with STEM Professional Dr. Diane Nelson from East Tennessee State University.  Her group of students learned about tardigrades and their habitats.  They also constructed sieve plates, collected their moss, and observed the tardigrades in action with their microscopic neighbors...rotifers, nematodes, and mites.
We are in the middle of our second transdisciplinary unit, Community and Communication.  Sixth grade is compiling iBooks to act as a regional guide to our Tri-Cities community.  Seventh grade is using the theme of the Olympics to discuss region, immigration, and competition.  Eighth grade is using the backdrop of Colonial America to design, create, and produce a news broadcast pertinent to the era.  Exciting things are happening within these walls.  Come by and check us out!
Miller Perry 4th Graders Take On Cardboard Challenge


After a wonderful visit from Ruth Leonard, STEM/Science Coach, the fourth grade at Miller Perry Elementary decided to take the "Cardboard Challenge".  We worked in our STEM Lab for three days to complete our projects to display at the Farmer's Market in Kingsport on October 5.  After working at school, the students took home their cardboard creations to add the finishing touches.  In the picture is an example of the Titanic made by Samantha Bell, Erika McCord, Caleb McKeehan, Devin Hutchins, and Andrew Gunther.

Colonial Heights Middle Hosts Parent Involvement Night


On Tuesday, September 24th, Colonial Heights Middle School hosted Parent Involvement Night.  Parents visited their child's teachers who gave a sample of a Common Core activity and required the parents to "work it out".  The purpose of the evening was to demonstrate the type of activities that teachers are utilizing as they increase rigor and to help engage parental assistance with academics. 
ISE Celebrates Grandparent's Day
Memories were made on September 13th when Indian Springs students enjoyed lunch with their grandparents and other invited guests. The cafeteria served over 500 meals that day.  We would like to say a special thanks to our awesome lunch room staff, PTA parent volunteers, and our wonderful related arts staff.
Emmett Elementary News



Emmett Elementary student work is displayed throughout the building to share best practices with stakeholders.  We are so proud of our students, teachers, and support staff who give 200% effort and heart everyday!

Rock Springs Elementary School Kicks Off EPIC Campaign

Students at Rock Springs Elementary School held a special program and pep rally to kick-off the school's EPIC program.  EPIC stands for Encourage, Protect, Invest, and Connect.  This countywide initiative helps students learn that it takes everyone to become the "Power of One" over bullying, harassment, and other negative factors that impact a positive school experience.  Students created and performed a skit where treasure seekers find a map with a mysterious location.  As the students work their way through the EPIC clues they discover that this mystery location contained a very special guest, Miss Kingsport 2014, Autumn Leigh Brown.  Miss Kingsport talked to the students about the Power of One and being successful in all they do.  The Sullivan South Rebel Band was on hand to help cheer the students along their journey and lead the entire student body in the pep rally.  The entire student body pledged to build an EPIC school.






View previous newsletters and updates in our Archived Communications
Sullivan County Schools | PO Box 306 | 154 Blountville Bypass | PO Box 306 | Blountville | TN | 37617

ETSU, Kingsport celebrate new downtown location

ETSU, Kingsport celebrate new downtown location Kingsport Times News
ETSU President Brian Noland, left, talks with Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips on Friday. ... KINGSPORT — One year ago, the building was a cold, dark shell.
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UWGK ENews September 2013

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United Way of Greater KingsportLive United - United Way

 ENews September 2013
Dr. Lyle Ailshie and Dr. Jubal Yennie, Superintendent of Kingsport City Schools and Superintendent of Sullivan County Schools 

"The Story of We" 
The History Behind United WE READ 
Over a three year period, the Children and Youth Vision Council developed a set of outcomes or expectation statements for children and youth in our community based on detailed asset and gap analyses, community conversations, and data from our local school systems.  One of those statements was "Children and youth will be college and career ready upon graduating from high school."

In order to turn this expectation into a reality, a Steering Team gathered to explore how addressing the root cause associated with youth being college and career ready after high school graduation could be best achieved.  The members came from the education field, the local housing authority, local industry, and United Way.  It became evident through data-driven conversations that our community needed to collectively tackle early grade literacy. 

Early grade literacy is defined by us as ensuring children in kindergarten - 3rd grade are proficient readers.  So in February of this year, the team crafted a vision around having all 3rd graders read on grade level by 2018.  This vision became part of a larger strategy known as United WE READ.

Simply described, United WE READ is a collaborative partnership model aimed at advancing the common good by raising visibility, deepening connections, and engaging supporters to build a literacy-rich community. United WE READ is building on the collective efforts of  many individuals and groups across our community and children are being profoundly impacted like never before.  It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when everyone involved sees a common goal and commits to its achievement.
Progress is being made and results are being documented.  Volunteer groups have been working with children over the summer to ensure they either maintain or increase individual reading scores and avoid the summer slide.  Literacy experts have provided in-person and innovative web-based training to volunteers who are interested in reading and mentoring our children.  Others are preparing to work with children in a coordinated effort both in and outside of schools.  It is an exciting time in Greater Kingsport as we look forward the future and see the community transformation that is surely forthcoming.

To reach our vision and to truly affect the culture of our entire community, we will need everyone to be involved either by GIVING, ADVOCATING, or VOLUNTEERING.  There are many ways to play a part in United WE READ. Whether you are a volunteer reader in a school or just helping your organization catch the vision of what this initiative could mean for the long-term success of our area, it all matters. We encourage you to pledge your support today and find your place in this important initiative.



It's Campaign Time in Kingsport!

The annual United Way of Greater Kingsport community campaign has kicked off and the Pacesetter companies, along with other workplace campaigns, are beginning to report their results.

To date, UWGK has raised $1,472,500 or 38% of the $3,875,000 goal.  "So that we can continue to create opportunities for a better life, United Way leadership increased the goal by $125,000 (3.5%).  The inrease will not only help us to meet needs, but it will also help us to address problems with solutions that generate lasting positive change," said Campaign Chair Roger Smith.  "This report is the first step in reaching our goal.  We need everyone in the community to give what they can.  Every gift, large and small,will work toward United Way's goal of improving lives in our community."

Citizens in the greater Kingsport area may participate in the United Way campaign through their workplace or through direct mail if they are not employed outside the home.  If someone has not had the opportunity to contribute through their workplace or by mail, he/she may make a pledge by calling 378-3409, visiting the UWGK office at 301 Louis St., Suite 201, or pledging online. 

                                LIVE UNITED!

Click here to GIVE

2013-2014 Billboards that are currently out in different locations around Kingsport. 

2013 UWGK Campaign Video
2013 UWGK Campaign Video

WE READ Kickoff a Success

The United WE READ Kickoff--held on Thursday, September 12 at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education--spotlighted the collaborative partnership model aimed at advancing the common good by raising visibility, deepening connections, and engaging supporters to build a literacy-rich community.

Approximately 150 people attended the event, which featured the following presenters:
  • John Perdue, Superintendent, Utilities Division -- Eastman Chemical Company & Vice Chairman of the United Way of Greater Kingsport Board of Directors
  • Miles Burdine, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce
  • Dobyns-Bennett (DB) Dramahawks led by Theater Director, Ms. Deborah Coram
  • Danelle Glasscock, Executive Director, United Way of Greater Kingsport
  • Dr. Lyle Ailshie, Superintendent, Kingsport City Schools
  • Dr. Jubal Yennie, Superintendent, Sullivan County Schools
  • Paul Montgomery, Vice President of Community Relations & Corporate Services, Eastman Chemical Company
  • Tennessee's First Lady, Crissy Haslam  
  • Dennis Phillips, Mayor, City of Kingsport  
Highlights included a retelling of "The Greater Kingsport Story" by Miles Burdine and acted out by the DB Dramahawks.  This story captured our community's decision to provide higher education opportunities to those living in Greater Kingsport through the Educate and Grow Scholarship, the design and development of the Regional Center for Applied Technology (RCAT), and the building of the Kingsport Center for Higher Education.  Our community's commitment to education, workforce development, and training led to our city being awarded the Innovation in American Government Award by the Kennedy School at Harvard University in 2009.

"The Story of Us," told by Danelle Glasscock, highlighted the importance of improving lives by GIVING, ADVOCATING, and VOLUNTEERING.  She stated that we advance the common good when we focus on Education, Income, and Health.  The critical impact education has on a community's viability was demonstrated when Danelle shared several stories of communities across America where local United Ways have served as the backbone organization, spearheading collective impact.  She also spoke about the importance of addressing root causes by telling "The Ogre Story."  The story demonstrated how effectively addressing root cause through systemic and sustainable change leads to lasting changes in community conditions.  Danelle ended her presentation by stating that the United Way of Greater Kingsport has identified literacy as a root cause and is working to build a literacy-rich community through United WE READ.

Dr. Lyle Ailshie and Dr. Jubal Yennie, who serve on the United WE READ Steering Team, underscored the importance of people in our community working together to boost early grade literacy.  With fellow United WE READ Steering Team members, Terry Cunningham (Executive Director, Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority), Paul Montgomery, and Danelle Glasscock, the team has a vision of 100% of our children scoring proficient or advanced on the Reading/Language Arts portion of their end of course exams by 2018

Tennessee's First Lady Crissy Haslam provided the keynote address and spoke about why she chose education as her platform.  She said learning to read by the end of 3rd grade is the single most influencing factor in ensuring young Tennesseans graduate from high school college and career ready.  She encouraged parents and caregivers as well as community members to read with their children 20 minutes a day and to volunteer and advocate for initiatives, such as United WE READ.  Mayor Dennis Phillips presented First Lady Haslam with a photo collage put together by local photographer Ray Austin.

Following the United WE READ Kickoff, First Lady Haslam read to 3rd grade students at Andrew Johnson Elementary School (a Kingsport City School) and Ketron Elementary School (a Sullivan County School).  The children enjoyed listening to READ20's Book of the Month, Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens and enjoyed having First Lady Haslam at their schools.  Click here to visit  



  • Volunteer Training is available for new volunteers, or those wishing to have a better understanding of the United Way of Greater Kingsport and our Community Impact efforts.   

    The final training session for 2013 will take place on Thursday, November 7 from 12:00 -1:30 p.m. in the UWGK Conference Room.  For more information and to register please contact Kandy Childress
Tennessee's First Lady, Crissy Haslam and Literacy Council volunteer, Leigh Anne W. Hoover.

  Agency Spotlight:  

Literacy Council   
by Lisa Adams


Since 1987 the Literacy Council of Kingsport has provided free literacy tutoring for qualifying adults and children in Kingsport and Sullivan County, Tennessee.  Executive Director Nada Weekley notes, "Students come to us because they have a goal they want to meet."  More common goals include attaining or retaining a job, furthering education, becoming a Untied States citizen, becoming more involved with their children's education, registering to vote, and getting a driver's license.

Powered by Weekley and one part-time paid staff member along with an engaged board and dedicated volunteer tutors and trainers, the Literacy Council currently operates three educational programs:
  • The English for Speakers of Other Languages Program teaches adults to read, write, speak and understand English.  For those learning to speak English, emphasis is placed on vocabulary, conversation skills and day-to-day skills needed  to survive in a new culture.
  • Literacy Council's volunteer tutors participate in collaborative projects to address literacy needs of adults and children.  They assist at the Lee Family Learning Center; Kingsport/Sullivan County Adult Education/GED program; Boys and Girls Club; Goodwill Industries; Girls, Inc.; the Kingsport City Schools of Jackson, Johnson and Lincoln Elementary; the Sullivan County schools of Cedar Grove and Rock Springs Elementary; and Mount Carmel Elementary in Hawkins County.
  • The Basic Adult Literacy Program uses the phonics-based "Laubach Way to Reading" program to help students develop basic reading and writing skills.  Specialized, one-on-one instruction allows students to progress at their own pace as they work toward personal goals.  Upon completion of the program, students have a firm literacy skill base with which to pursue further educational goals, such as earning a GED.
Volunteer tutors are crucial to programs and the heart of the Literacy Council's operation.  To stretch program funding, teaching materials are provided to tutors through a lending library.  Funding is focused on students, who receive free reading workbooks, notebooks, flash cards, pens...whatever supports their learning.

Weekley serves as a volunteer tutor for the same reason many others take on the role.  She notes, "I love to read and I wanted to help someone gain the skills of reading."  Both students and tutors may find the experience life-changing.  Long-time volunteer and author Leigh Anne Hoover was moved to write about her experiences.  She joined the Literacy Council more than a decade ago as a board member and has been an adult tutor for seven years.  As with many volunteers, Leigh Anne was surprised to learn how many adults deal with illiteracy and the many ways they mask the problem.  As for the freeing effect of gaining skills, she remarks, "newly literate adults all share a newfound lease on life."

Her personal journey began with an early love of reading.  She explains, "My mother used to tell me that I would say, "Breed [Read] me a book, " and she and my Daddy read many.  Reading is the basis for all learning, and I truly believe in the importance of sharing this message and making literacy available to everyone."

 Leigh Anne took tutor training as a way to learn more about the Laubach method...then she met Ralph.  He became her adult reading student, a member of her church, and a friend.  She says, "We have shared many experiences, including our faith."  The "Ralph stories" people asked to to tell became the basis for her novel, "Reading with Ralph:A Journey in Christian Compassion."  Through the book, she explains, she hopes to "not only shed light on illiteracy, but also share God's love in a book."

Leigh Anne authored two short illustrated books "The Santa Train Tradition" and "Festus and his Fun Fest Favorites" before taking on the novel.  A portion of the proceeds from each book goes to the Literacy Council.

The Literacy Council is always looking for volunteers and is most in need of literacy tutors.  Volunteer tutors complete a volunteer registration form, attend a tutor orientation, complete a self-paced training and attend a half-day training session.  Volunteer roles are also available in fundraising, public relations, programs, training, tutor coordination, office assistance, and basic computer tutoring.  If interested contact the Literacy Council at (423) 392-4643 for more information.    



The United WE READ Kickoff and the corresponding reading events received excellent media coverage:

  • Tennessee's First Lady Crissy Haslam tweeted about our event soon after leaving Kingsport.
  • A front-page article appeared in the Kingsport Times News on Friday, September 13.  Click here to view the article.  
  • WCYB ran a segment and posted information on their website.  
  • Jeff Fleming blogged about the event.
  • Sullivan County Schools posted a story and photos in their Weekly Update.

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United WE READ Kickoff with Tennessee's First Lady Crissy Haslam

  Kingsport Center for Higher Education welcomed Tennessee's First Lady Crissy Haslam.
Tennessee's First Lady, Crissy Haslam speaks about the importance of early grade literacy.  
The Dobyns-Bennett Dramahawks acted out the Greater Kingsport Story with Chamber President and CEO Miles Burdine. 
Mayor Phillips presented Lady Haslam with a framed photo collage depicting local cultural icons.  
Kingsport Center for Higher Education Executive Director, Teressa Dobbs, Tennessee's First Lady Crissy Haslam and Kingsport Center for Higher Education Event Coordinator Jessica Barnett speak briefly about the kickoff.

Lady Haslam reads to a class of 3rd grade students at Andrew Johnson Elementary.
Lady Haslam reads to a group of 3rd grade students at Ketron Elementary.
A group of students from Ketron Elementary gave Lady Haslam a gift basket, flowers, and cards to thank her for reading with them. 
                   Thank you 2013-2014 Pacesetters

The following companies and organizations participated in the 2013-2014 Campaign by being Pacesetters.  Pacesetter companies and organizations run their campaigns during the summer months. They help kick start the UWGK Campaign and set a standard for others to join. Thank you each for all the work you do!

                                              LIVE UNITED!


Appalachian Power Company

BAE Systems

Bank of Tennessee

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of East TN

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport

Brock Services, Ltd.

CASA for Kids

Citizens Bank

City of Kingsport

Comfort Keepers

2-1-1 Contact Concern

Day & Zimmerman 


Eastman Credit Union

Edwards Tipton Witt Agency

First Tennessee Bank

Frontier Health

Frontier Industries

Holston Children & Youth Services

Holston Counseling

Link House

SAFE House 

Girls, Inc. of Kingsport

Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Homes

Holston Medical Group

Indian Path Medical Center/Mountain States Health Alliance

Jacobs Field Services

John R. Hay House

Kingsport Chamber of Commerce

Kingsport Child Development Center

Literacy Council of Kingsport

Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Inc.

Sullivan County Department of Education

TEC, Industrial


TriSummit Bank

United Way of Greater Kingsport 

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United Way of Greater Kingsport | 301 Louis Street, Suite 201 | Kingsport | TN | 37660
Kingsport is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the Eastern U.S. This city of 50,000 in a metro of 308,000, was planned by renowned American planner John Nolen in his office at Harvard Square. Located in the lush green foothills of the Tennessee Valley, it is surrounded by the Southern Highlands and mountain lakes. Kingsport is home to Marriott’s and thousands of acres of unique, natural amenities at Bays Mountain and Warriors Path Parks. The natural geography provides a temperate, well-balanced climate with four seasons and a natural shelter from extreme weather. Population growth has also been well-balanced, ensuring you will not outgrow your decision to relocate. With no personal property taxes, special assessments, or state income taxes on salaries/wages, you’ll find that Kingsport has a very low cost of living coupled with an exceptionally high quality of life (see for yourself at The regional airport (TRI) has direct flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and St. Pete/Clearwater with easy access, parking, and virtually no security lines. The public education system was planned by Columbia University and Newsweek has repeatedly recognized the local high school as one of the best in America. Year in and year out our graduates go on to the top colleges and universities (and without costly private school tuition fees). Harvard also recognized Kingsport in 2009 with the Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiative. What are you waiting for? It’s time to leave the high costs, traffic jams, and stress behind and discover this hidden gem.