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TUESDAY, August 23, 2016 Issue No. 8

KNOXVILLE TORNADO . . The 2016-2017 class of CAC AmeriCorps Members recently attended a Media Interview & Press Conference Workshop presented by Community Television of Knoxville (CTV). Afterward, all 40 participants reported increased skill in preparing for media interviews, increased knowledge of the “dos and don’ts” pertaining to interacting with the media, and increased confidence in being in front of the camera.  Several participants had a chance to practice by holding a “mock” press conference related to a Knoxville tornado event. The new CAC AmeriCorps Members also left CTV with new skills required to craft a concise “elevator speech” describing the work they do with CAC AmeriCorps. Take a look at the mock press conference by clicking this link. If you are interested in participating in one of these workshops, contact Jason Oaks at 865-215-4362.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING . . . Taylor Drake and Minta Ray recently accepted one of the classic trail challenges of the Smokies — hiking all five trails up and down Mt. LeConte in less than 24 hours. They completed the trip (39 miles total) in 19 hours. They accepted the challenge to raise awareness and funds to mitigate human trafficking in East Tennessee. The two friends who share a deep concern for the victims of human trafficking have formed an organization called Hike Untied to help combat the commercial sex trafficking of minors. Sex trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing crime in the world after drug trafficking. The pair's recent LeConte ultramarathon helped raise money for Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CCAHT), a Knoxville-based nonprofit that works with hotels, truck stops and social service agencies to enhance the reporting and identification of suspected human trafficking. Find out more about CCAHT at this link.  
FERAL FELINE FRIENDS . . . Feral Feline Friends of East Tennessee is a nonprofit organization commited to helping cats that have had little or no contact with humans and are wild - feral cats. These cats are usually the offspring of un-neutered cats abandoned by their owners or adult cats that were abandoned and over time have reverted to a wild state. Feral cats are often found in commercial areas, subsisting on the scraps they find in dumpsters or on the ground. Feral Feline Friends practices "TNR", which stands for Trap, Neuter, and Return. The cats are humanely trapped, neutered, and returned back into their colony where they are most comfortable. TNR is important because it keeps the Knox County feral cat population under some form of control - and therefore prevents a large number of feral cats from the eventual fate of euthanization because they are considered unsuitable for adoption. So far this year, Feral Feline Friends has TNR’d nearly 1,800 cats!  To find out more visit this link.

EXPERIENCE YOUR SMOKIES . . . Twenty-six members of the newest class of Experience Your Smokies Tennessee were recently selected. Together, along with alumni from the program, they enjoyed this year’s kick-off event, marking the beginning of the 16th year of Leadership Classes.  Reaching across the state of Tennessee, Experience Your Smokies Tennessee gives diverse leaders a unique perspective on the Great Smoky Mountains with behind-the-scenes, hands-on educational experiences related to the activities and issues within the park. Class topics include air quality, historic preservation, experiential education programs, fisheries, wildlife management and dealing with the threats of exotic species. This year’s class members will join together to complete a service project that benefits the Park during its centennial celebration. To find out more about Experience Your Smokies Tennessee, please visit this link.

MANE SUPPORT . . . Mane Support is a nonprofit organization providing a ministry through equine-assisted grief counseling to children, youth, teens, and adults who have experienced a death, who are anticipating the death of someone they know or who have experienced other types of trauma. As their web site states, “The connection that the horse has to healing is a true journey, not a destination. Much like that of the grieving process, that is just what is says, a process not an event.”  Located in Blount County, all of the activities are conducted on the ground - there is no riding. In addition to individual and group sessions, Mane Support also offers community education, volunteer training, and corporate team building seminars. All of the therapists and equine specialists at Mane Support are certified through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. To find out more about Mane Support please visit this link.

SAVE OUR SONS . . . In 2013, Mayor Rogero joined with mayors across the country in the Cities United initiative to eliminate violence-related deaths among boys and young men of color and to increase opportunities for their success. The Mayor also convened a local advisory group to help identify the challenges that Knoxville's sons face, as well as to connect and coordinate the efforts of local stakeholders working to address those challenges. Under her leadership, the City of Knoxville also accepted President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge to address persistent opportunity gaps and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Save Our Sons Knoxville is a city-wide program funded through a grant from the State of Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs’ Targeted Community Crime Reduction Program to focus on a smaller target area. Summits are being held across the country to bring together key stakeholders to implement coherent “cradle-to-college-and-career” strategies for improving the life outcomes of all young people, with a special focus on boys and young men of color. To find out more about Save Our Sons Knoxville, please visit this link.

WRITERS HALL OF FAME . . . For the 13th year, Friends of Literacy recently recognized the contribution of local authors to our culture and history by inducting them into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. Leslie Garrett, author of numerous published short stories, two acclaimed novels and founder of the Knoxville Writers Guild received the award for Lifetime Achievement. Pamela Schoenewaldt, author of USA Today bestseller "When We were Strangers", received the award for Fiction. Margaret Lazarus Dean, author of "Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight", a Top Ten book of 2015, received the award for Nonfiction. Earl S. Braggs, author of nine collections of poetry, including "Hat Dancer Blue", which won the Anhinga Poetry Prize, received the award for Poetry. Randall Brown, writer of a downtown Knoxville focused weekly column in the Knoxville New Sentinel called "Downtown Randall Brown", received the award for Social Media.  Find out more about Friends of Literacy by visiting this link.

CONSERVATION FISHERIES . . . Wildlife conservation may not be what one might expect at the eighth annual Whites Creek Palooza, but here, visitors took the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local environment. Visitors were given snorkeling masks so that they could see firsthand the diversity of the waterway. J.R. Shute and Pat Rakes, founders and co-directors of Conservation Fisheries have dedicated the past 30 years to ecological conservation. Their current project has been reintroducing the Smokey and Yellowfin Madtoms, and the Citico Darter into Abrams Creek. After more than 5 years of work, these species are naturally spawning in the area. Some other key reintroduction sites include the Tellico River, Shoal Creek and the Powell River. The team feels strongly about the impact of this project with Shute stating, “When we lose sensitive species like the darters, it brings into question the health of the entire ecosystem and may end up affecting sport fishing and eventually drinking water.”  Find out more about Conservation Fisheries by visiting this link.

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