By Ken Lay

The weather may have been cold, damp and snowy late Thursday afternoon but that didn’t stop the Emerald Youth Foundation from celebrating the opening of another facility.

The foundation invited high school students, parents and other community members from throughout Knoxville to celebrate the opening of a second career and calling center, which is located in East Knoxville.

It is the second such facility to be operated by Emerald Youth and it’s located at Overcoming Believers Church at 211 Harriet Tubman St. This facility will serve students in East and South Knoxville. The foundation also operates a similar facility in Mechanicsville.

The center will be open from 3:30-7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and from 3:30-6:30 on Tuesdays.

The East Knoxville facility is run in collaboration with Overcoming Believers Church and will provide a multitude of services to high school and college students according to Kaylin Chesney, the foundation’s area director.

“We’re excited to be there to serve the young people in the areas of East and South Knoxville,” Chesney said. “This center will serve students and scholars in high school on up to the second year in college.

“Students can drop in to get help with their homework.”

The center is also partnered with Johnson University in East Knox County and will provide tutoring in math, science, Spanish and other subjects. Chesney said that the center is seeking volunteer teachers and tutors to assist the community.

“We have a student from Johnson University who comes in and helps with the tutoring,” Chesney said. “We’re looking for some teachers and other volunteers to come in and help us.”

In addition to tutoring and homework support and assistance, the new center will provide financial aid workshops as well as ACT preparation.

“We have structured hours and we certainly invite students to come by and stay,” Chesney said. “A student can come by if they need Wi-Fi, or if they just need to type a paper.

“We’ll have financial aid workshops and ACT prep. We’ll also have workshops on time management and we’ll assist with college applications.”

Chesney also noted the facility, which is modeled like a community college setting, will also have guest presentations from professionals, including engineers and those in the medical field.

Daryl Arnold, pastor of Overcoming Believers Church, is excited to be partnering with the Emerald Youth Foundation on this endeavor.

The foundation will have its own area in the church, which is adjacent to the Change Center, a recreation center.

“It’s all about collaboration and we’re happy to collaborate with Emerald Youth,” Arnold said. “We went to the Lord and we told Him if He would give us the building that we would give it back to the community.

“It’s next to our Change Center, a safe place for our kids to go to roller skate and play games,” Arnold said. “We had originally intended to use the building as a workout facility and a dance studio. But we decided that it was better to serve our young people for education. We’re happy to collaborate with Emerald because Emerald is creating a legacy.”

As part as the grand opening, guests were treated to food and drinks as well as entertainment and games.