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Ryan Hughes

Executive Director of the Tennessee Alliance

Ryan Hughes Hired as Executive Director of the Tennessee Alliance

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes will begin work as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Alliance on Wednesday, February 15th. Ryan has previously worked as a Field Representative and Legislative Liaison for Governor Haslam and Chief Legislative Officer for Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions. Most recently, he has served as General Consultant providing political consulting services throughout the south for War Room Strategies.

He began his career in 2006, working on Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker’s successful Republican United States Senate primary campaign. After the primary, Ryan went on to graduate from the RNC’s 2006 Field School, which led to a job with the Tennessee Republican Party as a field representative in East Tennessee in support of Corker’s general election. Senator Corker was the only Republican to win that cycle. In 2007 and 2008 Ryan served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Field Director, helping Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe defeat theTN1 incumbent congressman in the Republican primary, something that had not happened in Tennessee since 1974. Roe went on to win the general election. In 2010, Ryan served as the East Tennessee Field Representative for Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam’s gubernatorial run. Ryan served in that role during the primary and the general election, helping achieve the largest victory by a non-incumbent governor in the history of Tennessee. Ryan then worked on the inaugural team before moving over to the executive branch. There he served as a legislative liaison for the Governor’s Office, working with the General Assembly on environmental, workplace, and banking services legislative issues. While at the Governor’s Office, he helped pass an end to the state death tax and a reduction in food tax. Ryan most recently served for the past five years with the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions as the Chief Legislative Officer and PIO. In that role he shepherded 13 pieces of legislation into law, reducing regulations and streamlining state government for financial institutions.

Ryan is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, Belmont University’s Center for Executive Education Mini MBA Program and Tennessee’s state government LEAD program. He has served as a mentor to high school seniors as a part of tnAchieves. Ryan’s wife, Sara, is a Physician Assistant and they have a son, Jack.

Wal-Mart Foundation grants $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs

TN Valley Walmart

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday received a $50,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation’s State Giving Program.

The grant will help fund the clubs’ Food for Thought program, which will help a minimum of 500 low-income children through its healthy habits nutrition, cooking club and summer breakfast programs, said Lorene Jackson, chief operating officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.

The healthy habits nutrition program and the cooking club teach healthy eating concepts through hands-on cooking activities. The summer breakfast program provides a nutritious breakfast to children who attend the club during the summer in Knox, Loudon and Anderson counties, Jackson said.

“Approximately 80 percent of the children we serve come from food insecure households,” Jackson said. “(This grant) is a game-changer for us. There are some young people we serve who wouldn’t get breakfast without this. It also allows us to provide them with accurate education, so as they make decisions now and as adults later, what we hope is they’re going to lead healthier lives.”

Wal-Mart market manager Paul Feiden said the Wal-Mart Foundation’s state giving program supports many organizations that work to provide long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the nation.

“The boys and girls clubs, they support a mission that includes helping these young people realize their potential, and we feel like it’s critical that we support the communities that support us,” Feiden said.

During its last fiscal year, the Wal-Mart Foundation gave more than $35.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions to nonprofit organizations and programs in Tennessee focused on fighting hunger and healthy eating, workforce development, disaster preparedness and other needs through its state giving councils within the foundation. The Tennessee State Giving Council awards grants from $25,000 to $250,000.

Tammy Lane, asset protection manager at the Lenior City store and member of the Tennessee State Giving Council, said the council reviewed at least 40 grant applications. The Boys & Girls Club was among the organizations who received money due in part to its “impeccable reputation” for doing good in the community.

“You take a lot of pride in your company when you see how they give back in the community like this,” Lane said. “I can’t even describe it. It’s rewarding.”

The foundation also granted $250,000 to aid fire victims in Sevier County after wildfires hit Gatlinburg in November.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley serves more than 7,900 children and teens at 18 clubs across four counties. For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, visit

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Notes for Notes studio invites kids to explore music

memphis-music-1 memphis-music-3 memphis-music

In addition to shooting hoops, painting pictures and tinkering with computers, young people learn to beat the traps, lick the ax, tickle the ivories and cut, mix and master records at the Ira Samelson Jr. Boys & Girls Club.

The Notes for Notes recording studio at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis branch at 894 Isabelle is one of 14 such studios in 12 cities nationwide. Notes for Notes, a nonprofit organization, designs, equips and staffs after-school recording studios at Boys & Girls Clubs locations. The studios, which young people can use for free, include drums, guitars and keyboards as well as DJ gear, musical workstations and full recording facilities. They also can learn about careers on stage and behind the scenes.

“We have so many different things to offer for the youth of the center and those who are not just members of the center,” said Memphis Notes for Notes program director Chris Franceschi, 29. “Any kids in the city. We have drum lessons. We have piano lessons. Music production and engineering. Songwriting. Guitar lessons. Podcasting. Pretty much everything you can imagine.”

Children as well as teenagers can take part, Franceschi said. “We want to make it attractive for the teen population in the city, but there’s no age limit at all. If they can hold some drumsticks and they can sit in a class and learn, then we want them.”

About 60 people take part in the program at Ira Samelson; it began a little over two months ago. So far, nobody has dropped out, Franceschi said. “They see this as something they can actually do,” he said. “They’re exploring careers in the music industry or being a radio personality and things of that nature. Marketing managers. All kinds of things.”

The young music lovers are progressing very well, said volunteer coordinator/music production and film scoring instructor Nigel Johnson. “You see that light bulb go on,” he said. “You can see that growth in them. They’re just excited to be here.”

Diamond Pitchford, 12, is exploring songwriting.

“What I like about Notes for Notes is I can come in every day and be confident to go in a booth and sing what I wrote,” Diamond said. “And what I also like about Note for Notes is that I can play the guitar, too, which helps me write songs when I think of a song.”

An aspiring producer, Miracle Diggs,15, loves the program; she produced 13 tracks in one month. “It gives me my time to express myself and make music and beats and help other people make their music that they love,” she said.

A native Memphian, Franceschi also is a producer and a rapper. “Growing up, we never had the opportunity to actually have hands-on experience with equipment and instruction,” he said. “The resources weren’t there. When I was younger, I was trying to fight my way into the studio, and they were like, ‘Kid, get out of here!’

“What excites me most is you get kids that probably would never have the opportunity to be hands on with real live professional equipment. Being in a studio. Teaching them how to be professional artists. Teaching them what to expect. Teaching them the business. And teaching them the fundamentals of being successful in life.”

Asked why Memphis was chosen as a Notes for Notes location, CEO/co-founder Philip Gilley said, “Why not Memphis? I’m surprised it took us this long to get the city that has birthed so much rock and roll, blues, R&B and more. We want to expand Notes for Notes to cities that have a rich musical history, thriving music scene and the need. Positive places for young people to go to explore music.”

Gilley got the idea for Notes for Notes while mentoring a young man at a Boys and Girls Clubs in Santa Barbara, California. His “Little,” as they call those they mentor, wanted to learn to play drums, but he didn’t have access to a drum set. So he and Gilley began making regular visits to a music store to practice on the demo drum set. Gilley realized starting a nonprofit to give young people access to musical instruments was a good idea, so he formed Notes for Notes with Natalie Noone, daughter of Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone.

“Music is everywhere,” Gilley said. “You can’t escape it, and so many young people may not have realized they have an interest and/or aptitude to explore creating it. We want young people to know that music is not some unattainable desire they may have. It may already be inside them. They just may need the tools, instruments and guidance to explore it further.”

Gilley recalled “the journey of one young guitar player.” The young man walked in the studio and was “withdrawn and didn’t gravitate towards anything.”

He began teaching the young man to play guitar. “He started to become a pretty decent player, but, most importantly, he started to develop an identity around being a guitar player. He started to dress in V-necks and spike his hair. He had latched on to an instrument and an identity. His personality began to emerge, and his mother and the staff at the Boys and Girls Club were noticing. He’s since gone on to perform at a number of our benefit concerts with Joe Bonamassa and Steve Miller. He has been collecting signatures on his guitar of artists who have cruised through the studio, which now boasts artists ranging from Slash to Jack Johnson to the Black Keys.”

Gilley remembered what the mother of that Notes for Notes success story told him. “His mother had expressed to me that before he picked up guitar in the studio, he’d never latched on to anything to call his own.”

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Boys & Girls Clubs Across the State Participate in Lights on Afterschool

Many children, parents and community leaders across the state of Tennessee came together on Thursday, October 20th for Lights On Afterschool celebrations. Lights on Afterschool celebrates the achievements of afterschool students and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. In America today, 1 in 4 youth -15.1 million children– are alone and unsupervised after school. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults. Lights On Afterschool was launched in October 2000 with celebrations in 1,200 communities nationwide. Today, more than 7,500 Lights On Afterschool rallies are held annually, attracting 1 million Americans and media coverage nationwide. Lights On Afterschool is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs.

Knoxville Hosts Tennessee All Staff Training

Knoxville, Tenn. (October 6, 2016) ―As kids headed back to school this fall, Boys & Girls Clubs across Tennessee converged in Knoxville for a statewide All-Staff Retreat. Nearly 475 employees, from 19 different organizations, ranging from part-time Youth Development Professionals to full-time Management Professionals took part in the two-day training held at West Park Baptist Church, home of the Middlebrook Boys & Girls Club.

Each day featured morning and afternoon sessions that focused on training for three priority outcome areas: Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles and Good Character & Citizenship. Sessions provided by Club professionals and/or local community partners included: Leadership, New Professionals Orientation, Social Emotional Awareness, STEM & Lego Robotics, Fine Arts, Gym Games, Team Building and more.

Sessions were also provided by National Training Associates from Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). BGCA sessions aligned with the national push to support teen programming with Year of the Teen. Sessions included: They Vote with Their Feet:  Addressing Teen Retention from the Beginning, Set Up for Success: Ensuring Teen Accountability, Community Catalysts: Using Community Assets to Support Teen Engagement and more.

The Keynote Address was delivered by Tennessee’s Director of Organizational Development, Chet Nichols. Nichols also presented Program Honor Awards to several Clubs across the state for excellence in program implementation and performance. Tied for the Character & Leadership award was the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rutherford County’s Murfreesboro Unit for their Enrichment Focus Group and the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains’ Sevierville Unit for their Lead to Feed program. The Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains’ Pigeon Forge Unit was awarded the Education & Career Development Program Award for their Productive Futures program. For Health and Life Skills, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Ocoee Region received the Program Award for A Passport to Manhood Experience.  The Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County received the Sports, Fitness & Recreation award for hosting and implementing the Summer Olympics – BGC Style. The Arts Program Award was given to the Boys & Girls Club of Pulaski for their OpporTUNEity Music Program.

Professionals were also recognized individually for their outstanding effort during the past year. Fourteen part-time professionals and 11 full-time professionals were honored for their work.

Tennessee All-Staff Retreat is the largest statewide professional development opportunity within the Boys & Girls Club Movement.

The Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee is seeking a full-time Executive Director for the state-wide 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations

The Executive Director, TN Alliance/CBO oversees the relationship and management of the Tennessee Alliance/CBO.  The position is responsible for developing the overall budget and overseeing the execution and delivery of programs within the TN Alliance/CBO.  Provides support to the TN Alliance and Community Based Organization (CBO) board of directors in developing organizational goals, fundraising, resource development, allocating and managing resources, and establishing policies. Responsible for developing and maintaining positive relationships with key state government officials, lobbyists, and other stakeholders.  Works closely with the local Boys & Girls Clubs to develop and ensure compliance of statewide projects and programs.  Provides direct supervision to Tennessee Alliance/CBO staff.

Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree or MBA preferred.

Experience Required: A proven leader with seven or more years of experience working or participating in legislative events and experience working with state officials, private foundations, or state-wide associations.

Skills Required:

  • Must possess strong knowledge of business practices and business acumen.

  • Industry knowledge in youth development is helpful.

  • Must be knowledgeable in state legislature and processes.

  • Must have strong negotiation skills.

  • Ability to supervise and manage staff.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

  • Experience in securing private and corporate funding is helpful.

  • Ability to travel to meetings and Club locations within the state (up to 50% travel required monthly)

Only qualified individuals submit resume, cover letter (including salary requirements), and three professional references by October 28, 21016 to

Apply online at

Several Honored by Boys & Girls Clubs Tennessee Area Council


     Several Boys & Girls Club board volunteers received honors from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Tennessee Area Council at its annual membership meeting in Kingsport, Tennessee on Thursday, September 22, 2016. Board member awards for outstanding service were presented as well as six new members were enshrined into the Tennessee Boys & Girls Clubs Hall of Fame for their lifetime achievements. The awards were presented during the Tennessee Area Council Awards and Tennessee Hall of Fame dinner at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center. The Tennessee Area Council is made up of over 90 Club sites from across the state serving approximately 40,000 children each year.

     “Club volunteers and staff members attended workshops, training sessions and other activities during the week,” stated Chet Nichols, Director of Organizational Development for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  “The the goal of the event was to inspire attendees and provide tools to serve our kids and our communities with greater impact across the state” added Nichols.  Taking top honors for the Tennessee board member awards was Dr. David Ratliff, board volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, honored as the Tennessee Boys & Girls Club Board Member of the Year for his work at the local Club and across the state.  Tony Melson, board volunteer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kingsport, was honored as the Beverly Burton Tennessee New Board Member of the Year Award.  This award is for board members serving their Club with less than three years on their board.  Food City received the Tennessee C.A.R.E. (Children Are the Reason for Excellence) Award for their work with several Boys & Girls Clubs and especially the Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley and their annual Tim Irwin Bass Classic.  This award spotlights efforts by groups and individuals that serve Boys & Girls Clubs.  The Boys & Girls Club of Maury County was named the High Performance Board Team of the year for their work in their community and growth of their organization.  Several members of their organization were on hand to accept the award.  In speaking of all the Tennessee award winners, Nichols, stated that “these individuals and groups are great examples of engaged, compassionate and hardworking people that not only care about the youth of their community, but do things to make a difference for these kids.  Due to their efforts, many great futures will start in Tennessee.”


     The Tennessee Boys & Girls Clubs Hall of Fame inducted six new members in their 2016 class that included Darrell “Pappy” Crowe (Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County and the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County), Bobby Greene (Boys & Girls Club of the Ocoee Region” Cleveland”), Judge Tim Irwin (Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley), Sam LaPorte (Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County), Jackie Leach (Boys & Girls Club of Morristown) and Linda Ogle (Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains).  Tony Melson, Tennessee Area Council Chairman, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event and Miles Burdine, president of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and a former Boys & Girls Club kid was the keynote speaker prior to the event.

     “The Tennessee Boys & Girls Clubs Hall of Fame honors those rare individuals whose high achievements have made a mark in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee has been blessed with many great club kids, volunteers, board member, staff and friends of the Boys & Girls Club movement and the Hall of Fame recognizes the best of the best.  These six individuals honored have shaped and inspired local Clubs from across Tennessee and proved to be outstanding in doing so.  These individuals have achieved the distinction of being true champions for children and have provided innumerable accomplishments and lasting memories.” stated Scott Bullington, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County, and chairman for the Tennessee Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame inductees individual biographies can be found under the Hall of Fame tab and under Class of 2016, or click on their individual pictures to be directed to their page.


When school is out, the club is in

The Boys and Girls Club of the Hatchie River Region is in its third year and providing a positive and fun environment for the local youth after school and during the summer.

The club has various areas for the children to play and learn, including a rec room, game room, an area for creative arts and a skills tech space.

The children rotate on a daily schedule so they have ample time in each area.

“I like building stuff; right now I am making a motor sound recording,” said Rishaud Mitchell while building a circuit board in the skills tech room.

The club gives children who would usually be home alone a safe place to go.

“It gives me something to do after school,” said Anthony Poole.

Rishaud and Anthony, along with their friend Elijah Dotson said they really like the rec room and playing basketball the most.

The center serves approximately 80 children just like them on a regular basis, and more space is needed so more children can be served.

“Our biggest goal this year is to get the unfinished spaces redone so that we can house 40 to 50 more children,” said program director Rebecca Ray. “We would really like to add a library and an area for the children to have some down time, listen to music or study,” she said.

The club recently added a new van and hope to be able to serve families that do not have transportation.

There are fundraisers coming up that will help the Boys and Girls Club achieve some of its goals for the year.

The Grace Race, 5Kwill be held by First Presbyterian Church on Sept. 24 starting at 8 a.m..

The Steak and Burger event will be at the Stitt property on Oct. 6. Tickets and additional information will be available soon.

The club welcomes volunteers and groups who would like to help out with some of the programming.

Donations are also welcome and can be made through the website at or sent to P.O. Box 384, Covington TN, 38019.

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