Community outreach programs under-used? - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community outreach programs under-used?

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB)  --  Chattanooga offers hundreds of non-profit outreach programs aimed to help citizens in at risk areas. Channel 3 wanted to know if people who could benefit from the programs are taking advantage of them.

Every year Pastor Kevin Adams and members of Olivet Baptist Church go into the neighborhoods and offer help with education and rebuilding programs. They've had about a dozen success stories.

"But it just seems like a small drop in terms of what we're really seeing out there. This is bigger than we could ever imagine," Adams says. "You can't help anybody that doesn't want help."

He says Chattanooga needs more foot soldiers like Tonya Rooks to convince people to want that help. She made it out of her neighborhood in College Courts.

"I got involved in some drugs, started hanging around the wrong people," says Rooks.

However, now she's reaching out to help others.

"People are, we're broken. Broken families just don't know how to get what we need to correct our problems," explains Rooks.

As a recruiter for First Things First, a program aimed at strengthening families, Rooks is in the community every day.

"Sometimes I sign up people and they don't come to their first class, but I'm persistent because I know what you need," says Rooks. "I just don't stop with that one visit. I keep on, I'm just like the lady you don't want to see."

However, before the city can see a change she says it'll have to come from those who want it.

"We're so negative about what the city and what the government will and will not do for us, but we got to do it for ourselves first," says Rooks.

For more information on First Things First, visit their website.

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