Causeway Challenge: Halfway to Launch

This week marks the halfway point of a four-month incubation period for our Causeway Challenge winners. In June, we selected five projects that answered the question: “How can we make Chattanooga a place where people from all backgrounds live, work, play and learn together?” Each team is stepping closer and closer to that goal, but incubation wouldn’t be incubation without some challenges, shifts and lessons learned along the way. Check-in with the teams and see how you can get involved with their projects.

ALISE (name change coming soon)

What are you working on right now?
Right now we’re building programming for “community conversations” to start in late September in 3 locales in East Lake and Alton Park. The “conversations” will be a casual, fun and cultural experience with the initial focus being on surveying and narrowing down the most prominent neighborhood issues. We’re already administering surveys and doing voter registration each Saturday in these areas, but will launch formally with the conversations event.

What is one thing you have learned from working with your team?
We were afraid in the beginning that our idea was too lofty, too big and idealistic to work; but after talking to many folks within the local community, as well as national folks like the ALICE/SIX team, we feel affirmed that many, in fact most, people agree that an effort to connect and energize diverse individuals and groups around majority-supported policy is much needed right now. … Although we’ve been on a roller coaster ride with names and missions, we’ve been consistently brought back to the same basic idea and strategy; we’ve been consistently reassured by diverse peoples that we have a much needed vision.

Want to get involved:
The groups invites anyone who wants to help with the event — organizers, surveyors, artists — to join them. They host planning dinners on Monday nights. Once their name change is final, they will have social media pages for you to stay updated. Beginning in September they will host door-to-door canvassing/surveying. And you can always join for Saturday surveying and voter registration!

800

What are you working on right now?
800's primary focuses are completing the details for its first public art project: The Welcome Well; and to use at least 3 strategies over the next week (social media, physical art, and personal engagement) to promote the next 800 session for August 24th, with the goal of having the highest attendance at the meeting.

How have your thoughts and hopes about your project changed, shifted or grown?
Through the first several weeks of incubation, I’ve thought more about the bigger picture of 800's potential impact on the city at large and its communities. My hopes and ambitions for 800 have grown as I’ve envisioned a structure between the meetings, activities, and projects and how they can establish a framework for using public art to speak directly to the citizens of a city and to enable them to engage with the art, and with each other through the art, as they might not do otherwise. As my hopes haves grown, I’ve also learned the importance of balancing long-term vision and ideas with smart and pragmatic planning and consideration of the details.

Want to get involved:
Come to an 800 session! The group meets every other Monday at 800 Market Street. Stay informed by liking the 800 Facebook Page.

Friends of Rivermont

What are you working on right now?
We are focusing on building strong relationships with the PTA and administration at Rivermont Elementary. Once we lay groundwork there we plan to launch our campaign to engage the broader community.

How have your thoughts and hopes about your project changed, shifted or grown?
Initially our goal was to change the perception that the community has of the school. It’s a delicate subject as we have come to find over the last few weeks, and it really depends on who you ask. Based on this discovery, we are moving forward with the goal to fully support the school as a community regardless of the perception — as this will change with continued and consistent interaction. If we embrace the good in the school and get familiar with the parents and staff, then the possibilities are endless.

Want to get involved:
People can get involved by contacting our board directly via rivermontinfo@gmail.com. We will also be sharing information for upcoming volunteer opportunities on our Facebook page and our listserv. We are looking for people in the neighborhoods that are served by the school to build our Neighborhood Council. This role serves as a single point of communication that can champion our cause and create neighborhood enthusiasm and interest in the school.

100(100s)

What are you working on right now?
Right now we are celebrating the completion of our first project and focusing on getting our second community project planned and implemented. Our two new youth leaders (Irie, age 11 going to CCA and Aariana, age 11, going to Orchard Knob Middle) have identified an issue they would like to address — bullying and people taking their anger out on others — through public art projects (community murals). We are also planning a youth leadership/cross-cultural training with 10 identified youth leaders that will take place in the next month. Last, we are planning to launch an adult mentor component to our project. This will pair a 2 adult mentors with youth leaders for each of the remaining community projects. These mentors will provide support by providing insight on project ideas, building leadership skills, and encouraging the youth throughout the project planning and implementation process.

How have your thoughts and hopes about your project changed, shifted or grown?
Rondell (project leader): I thought in a limited perspective, but now I’m pushing myself broader intentionally. For example, pairing up adult mentors with kids’ projects.

Ashley (project leader): My focus has switched from a big picture — impacting 100 kids — to the richness of working one-on-one with a core group of youth leaders.

Asia (student leader): It helped our project grow when we learned the homeless didn’t need t-shirts. Learning that helped us grow in knowledge.

Chrystion (student leader): We thought the homeless needed water bottles but they didn’t. We decided to buy backpacks and school supplies instead.

Want to get involved:
You can get involved by spreading the word, following 100(100s) on Facebook and Instagram, and emailing ashleyconrad07@gmail.com if you are a young person or know a young person who is interested in participating in a community project.

Wildcard

What are you working on right now?
We are focusing on preparations for an “After Party” introduction to our team and our BIG EVENT during Octobers Startup Week. Focusing on a diverse evening with fun, food, and music. Also, working on an educational/professional component that will coincide with our efforts.

What is one thing you have learned from working with your team?
It is very cool to see each individual slowly morphing into a very impressive group. I think especially for the unique scenario the wildcard team has evolved from (5 individual efforts and initiatives to make CHA great), to a group that understands that working towards a sustainable, inclusive, exciting, diverse “movement” for the region is worth everyone’s efforts. I’m very impressed with our team and everyone’s unique abilities.

Want to get involved:
Keep an eye out for more information about events put on by the Wildcard team!