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PHOTO: Jay Smith (right) with the Tennessee Children’s Home runs down some car maintenance basics with youth from the home. / Photo by Alexander Willis

By ALEXANDER WILLIS

Adulthood requires a variety of different skills sets; money management, knowing how to change a tire, and even maintaining a presentable physical appearance on a routine basis. To better help prepare the youth living at the Tennessee Children’s Home, The Beignet Bar out of Nashville helped organize a Skills Development Day on Friday, which saw the young teens and kids learn everything from interviewing skills to graphic design.

 

“This is a learning day,” said Natasha Johnson, owner of The Beignet Bar. “They’re learning not just about new skills, but they’re also learning skills. We have brought in several of our friends in the community from various organizations and companies to be able to support the young men, and [to] be able to teach them and help them develop personal and professional skills.”

The event saw representatives from a wide array of industries, from members of the U.S. National Guard to professors from the Lipscomb College of Business. The event also featured a star guest – Superbowl Champion Corey Harris, who helped take the Baltimore Ravens to victory in 2001.

A regular at the Tennessee Children’s Home, Harris is known by the youth as “Uncle Corey,” and spoke with them Friday about everything to do with maintaining physical and mental health.

Other industries featured at the event included a professional grooming station with barbers from The Future Classic and Experience. This barber shops gave kids haircuts and grooming tips, a money management station, which saw representatives from Northwestern Mutual and Johnson Capital LLC break down money saving and investment tips, and also a law enforcement station. There, Spring Hill Police Officer Cory England shared advice on how to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Another station Johnson was particularly excited about was the faith station, which saw ministers from the Church of Christ share with kids how faith can help guide them to their paths to adulthood.

“We really want to develop the kids in a 360 degree holistic way,” Johnson said. “God is at the center of everything and serves such a significant purpose in our lives, so to be able to understand his role as you learn all these skills and going on to do whatever you’re going to do in life, you’re going to need him.”

As the first event of its kind at the Tennessee Children’s Home, staff were thrilled with the opportunity to help guide youth into adulthood with a diverse set of skills.

“This is the exact type of thing that these guys need,” said  Director of Development and Community Education Chris Doughtie with the home. “They feel like they have no hope, but when they can come in there and realize that it’s not going to take much for [them] to gain the skills to do a job that [they] like, they can come and do it and learn about it right here.”

“It’s going to make them start thinking as they’re going through their education, and saying, ‘what is it that I need to start focusing on if I want to be a graphic designer, what is it that I need to focus on if I want to go into supply management?’ It’s a great skill set that they’ll be able to pick up.”

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