Read about KDC through the eyes of the volunteers and staff

Title One Tales

Stories about how our Title One Schools are being impacted here in Knoxville. (Author: Pastor John Unthank)

Throughout an ordinary day we all see people smile, and hopefully, they see us smile often too! Today I saw a lot of smiles; 300 smiles to be exact! Today we blessed 300 teachers who serve in Title-One Schools in Knox County with our Make A Teacher Smile Campaign!

West View Elementary

The elementary schools that receive supply bags are Fountain City, Inskip, Maynard, Norwood, West View, Pond Gap, and Ridgedale Alternative School. We gave each one of them a generous supply bag to help begin this year's journey. As they received the bags, the smiles broke out, followed with handshakes, hugs, and heartfelt "thank yous!"

Pond Gap Elementary

These teachers are very special to us at the Knoxville Dream Center and its because of your generous response to this need that this year's Make a Teacher Smile campaign was possible. This was our fourth year of blessing these teachers and you helped us do it! Thank you for giving to the Knoxville Dream Center and Make a Teacher Smile 2019!

Maynard Elementary

by Pastor John Unthank

Every fall break, and every spring break, The Knoxville Dream Center in partnership with Scruffy City Books, gives away books to children in the Title One schools we serve. Scruffy City is a great partner and they have a heart to give back to the community!

I have known this for years, but the past few weeks have reinforced it more than ever. The whole process of assembling our books, sorting our books, and boxing them up for over 2400 students in elementary grade levels went like clockwork. The entire operation went smooth and with wonderful helpers who do much of the tedious work, it was worth it all.

I was privileged to be in our schools and deliver the books, and with so many "thank yous" from principals and teachers, I lost track. The best thing of all was being with the students when they were able to choose their books to take home for break.

They were so excited....giggling, looking carefully for just the right one and the smiles....all the smiles. On our end we knew the result; a door was going to be opened through these books.

A door to discoveries of science, a door to a fun filled story of a play day, a door to a story about relationships, a door to learning, and a soul refreshing was a pleasant addition to a well deserved break. There is so much in the power of a book in the hand of a child. We are so grateful we could do this project once again.....and already look forward to next year!

If you would like to get involved with the Knoxville Dream Center and our Title-One School Outreach program, email us at

Teaching has always been a part of my career life. I went to college on a teacher’s scholarship and got my degree in the Education Division. Little did I know how much I would need that as we entered the ministry and on many occasions had to use teaching as a means of support. The Lord has blessed me to be a school administrator on two occasions with a wonderful staff. I always wanted them to feel good about themselves and recognize their progress and achievements. I loved to see them smile the smile that comes with accomplishment and recognition for a job well done.

"For our teacher's it is just like Christmas!"

That same desire guides my role as Title One Schools Outreach Coordinator of the Knoxville Dream Center. We work together in many ways to keep our partner teachers encouraged and uplifted. However, one of the best efforts is our Make A Teacher Smile campaign each year. When we hand out the supply bags you would not believe the excitement and the smiles. One of our principals noted that….”For our teacher’s it is just like Christmas!” Now a supply bag runs out but the joy can continue on as we follow up every week to encourage them all and when a specific need arises we are there to meet it if at all possible. Their role in a Title One School is really difficult. As one Second Grade teacher remarked just a few days ago in a note…”the pressure is on continually”.

Here at the Knoxville Dream Center it is about coming alongside materially and spiritually to create those moments in the middle of the pressure so that a teacher can smile because someone cares.

I would encourage you to not forget the teachers on the front lines of your schools and do your best at every opportunity to Make A Teacher Smile! You will be glad you did.

Watch this video below to learn more about our Make a Teacher Smile day!

John Unthank

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