BICC to set 2013 vision
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Oct 15, 2012 | 729 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tickets to the Bradley Initiative for Church & Community’s annual fundraising banquet are still available for residents who share the nonprofit’s vision for making a difference in the lives of area families, their children and all who call Cleveland their home.

To get under way at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, the special dinner will be held at the Museum Center at Five Points in downtown Cleveland. Keynote speaker will be Charles Marshall, a nationally syndicated humor columnist and author.

The gathering, which is traditionally filled by civic, government and church leaders, as well as a throng of individual volunteers and BICC supporters, will focus on two themes. One will be a celebration of the past year and the organization’s array of successes; and the second will be a look into the future and what BICC hopes to accomplish in 2013 and beyond, according to Brenda Hughes, BICC executive director.

“BICC is celebrating 14 years of life and ministry in our community,” Hughes said. “The really strong and effective programs that have been established as freestanding entities in our community like Bradley Initiative Credit Union and REACH Adult High School, which is in the Bradley County School System, are a legacy of the work and support of thousands of generous and caring individuals who have believed in the dream that together we can make a difference.”

Over the years, BICC has served as a respected liaison between several community components — churches, governments, schools, civic organizations and various nonprofit groups. It is best known for a trio of current programs — Starfish, Transitions and ITLT, the latter of which stands for Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today.

“[These] current programs are making a tremendous impact on the families, children and youth next door and down the street from where you and I live and work,” Hughes stated. “These are real families who need some special support during critical times in their lives. Our community residents are the ones who have made it possible to launch and sustain these evidence-based, effective resources.”

Hughes said those who attend the upcoming banquet are the BICC backbone and those who share its vision and mission for parents, children and entire families.

Reservations may be made by calling BICC at 423-559-1112 or sending an email to The organization’s website may be found at Tickets are $75 each and may be purchased no later than Friday, Oct. 26. Corporate sponsorships are available as well as individual donations. Attire is business casual.

This year’s banquet is being organized by co-chairs Ken Davis and John Haile who are working with a committee of volunteers.

“[They are] planning an evening that will entertain, inspire, inform and motivate,” according to Jackie D. Johns, BICC president. “We believe that everyone in attendance will leave feeling great about BICC, about our community and about the people who live here. This year, we also think you will leave laughing.”

That’s because of the keynote address.

Marshall, who is considered one of the most popular humorous, motivational speakers in the U.S., offers more than 20 years experience in providing messages that are uplifting, timely and most importantly, relevant to today’s times, according to Davis and Hughes.

The BICC pair pointed out Marshall travels some 100,000 miles each year and averages as many as 100 coporate and civic engagements in venues stretching from New York to California and plenty of points in between.

“Charles Marshall is in great demand across the United States as a Christian comedian,” Davis, who is BICC’s vice president, said. “[He] is able to look at everyday life and share his unique views in such a way that you soon find yourself laughing out loud and anxious to hear the next thing he is going to say.”

Davis, who has attended several of Marshall’s performances, described the speaker as having “... an amazing ability to be hilarious while making you think.”

Davis pointed to the importance of BICC’s yearly dinner and the direction it helps to establish for future initiatives.

“The annual BICC banquet has become one of the highlights of our year,” he noted. “It is an event in which we celebrate not just our accomplishments, but our community as a whole. Bradley County is a wonderful place to live, a place where neighbor helps neighbor.”

Davis added, “That is the mission of BICC. We are committed to find ways we can help each other overcome some of the systemic challenges of life. Our focus is on helping families face those challenges.”

A synopsis of BICC’s three primary programs includes:

- “Starfish” aids parents, as their child’s first and most important teacher, “... to maximize their child’s future success in school and life.”

-“Transitions” engages families in a proactive process “... to strengthen their relationships within the family structure and to help equip them to thrive as they together navigate the challenges of school and life.”

- “Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” (ITLT) trains and mobilizes middle and high school students “... to become future productive leaders in our community.”

Hughes said BICC’s past successes have been made possible by community partnerships involving a diversity of groups and individuals. New commitments are often formed at the annual banquet and existing ones are strengthened, she said.

“[We ask our community] to respond again as we host our annual fundraising banquet,” Hughes stressed.