Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, December 18, 2020

Green|spaces receives $10,000 to support BIG

The Build It Green community-resiliency program at green|spaces provides participants with training and job placement assistance. - Photograph provided

The Build It Green community-resiliency program at green|spaces will continue to grow thanks to a $10,000 grant from Truist Financial Corporation.

The BIG program began several years ago in partnership with Build Me A World, a Chattanooga-based mentorship organization. As a sustainable building workforce development program, participants receive a biweekly living allowance plus a continuing education stipend when they finish the program.

Participants also complete community service projects, including work with Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, as well as small scale construction projects, such as building a new greenhouse for Chattanooga’s Metropolitan Ministries.

“BIG inspires a passion for craftsmanship, creating mentorship opportunities and facilitating community connections,” says Christian Shackelford, program director. “It’s about painting a picture of the possibilities.”

Unique Simmons plans to continue her education with a degree in chemistry once she finishes the BIG program.

Her fellow team member, Marlon Lykes, wants to find steady construction work because he likes working with his hands.

And Dexter Talley, who graduated from last year’s BIG class and now serves as a team leader, plans to take his building knowledge to renovate properties in his community, such as the hair salon he owned before COVID-19.

“I have a personal connection with a lot of the kids I found and brought to the program,” Talley says. “I try to be what they need.”

“We’re proud of the BIG program, as it’s preparing young adults for long-term success and advancing sustainable communities,” says Jim Vaughn, Chattanooga market president at Truist.

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Source: Green|spaces