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In the most recent Challenge, nearly 60 local applicants submitted project ideas that answered the question: "How can more opportunities to play make Chattanooga a stronger city?"

Causeway announced today the 10 winners of its most recent Causeway Challenge, a social entrepreneurship program that provides funding and support to specific projects that offer bold solutions to community problems. Each of the winners will get $3,000 of matching funds to help fund their charitable initiatives.

In this most recent Challenge, nearly 60 local applicants submitted project ideas that answered the question: "How can more opportunities to play make Chattanooga a stronger city?"

"The Causeway Challenge is all about getting new people and their ideas involved in Chattanooga's growing social entrepreneurship movement," Leonora Williamson, chair of Causeway's board, said in a statement today. "With a lot of support and some initial funding, Causeway is building the next generation of leaders for Chattanooga's social causes and getting some incredible projects completed at the same time."

A panel of six community judges, with backgrounds in various kinds of play from museums to the outdoors to music, sports and schools, reviewed every application and made funding recommendations.

"The process of selecting projects for funding is pretty rigorous, but so many people step up each time we do a Challenge and are willing to spend their very limited free time making our city a better place," said Heather DeGaetano, managing director at Causeway.

In addition to the $3,000 grant, the winners will also get advice, connections and coaching from Causeway's staff and will be matched with a mentor from Causeway's Advisor Network.

The projects will be implemented between January and April of next year.

The winners of the third Causeway Challenge are:

A Night Under the Stars

Project Leader: Nicole Lewis

Category: Environment and Youth

Neighborhood: East Chattanooga

The program will work with the Good Neighbor Network of East Chattanooga to recruit interested youth, and lead them through a series of hikes, culminating with a campout that includes learning how to build a fire, setting up a tent, and stargazing.

Big Whimsy

Project Leader: Meredith Levine

Category: Placemaking

Neighborhood: Traveling

Big Whimsy, in partnership with the downtown Chattanooga Public Library, will host an intergenerational tinkering week where members of the community will help build a larger-than-life, glow-in-the-dark version of the game of Pick Up Sticks and make a plan for a giant, portable, coloring fort. Once built, these playful installations will make an appearance at many diverse community events throughout the city. "Going big" means these games aren't just for kidsthey require the added play of an adult to work properly, resulting in inviting opportunities for play among adults or cooperative intergenerational play.

Book Fiesta in East Lake

Project Leader: Jazmine LeBlanc

Category: Education

Neighborhood: East Lake

This group of parents and neighbors in East Lake plan to start a weekly reading group that culminates in a playful Book Fiesta on World Book Day in April, where they will bring some of their favorite books to life with readings and creative activities. This team knows that play holds the power to build trust, unity and cross-cultural understanding among their diverse neighbors and their children. This project will contribute to kindergarten readiness and literacy rates by engaging families in literacy, making books easily accessible and reading fun.

Camp Wakawalu

Project Leader: Theresa Nix

Category: Youth, Health and Active Living

Neighborhood: All/ Lookout Mountain

Camp Wakawalu was dreamed up by a collection of parents, teachers, physical therapists, pastors and community members to provide the opportunity for a playful weekend for families in the Chattanooga area who have children with Down Syndrome. Camp Wakawalu will give more than 200 families in our city the chance to play, relax, and form a support system with other families like theirs. Not only will the children who have Down Syndrome enjoy each other and their counselors, but moms and dads will benefit from spending time with other parents who "get it," and siblings will meet friends across the city who face the same things in their daily lives.

Clinica Medicos Playground

Project Leader: Kelly Arnold

Category: Health and Active Living

Neighborhood: Highland Park

Clinica Medicos is a unique healthcare clinic that provides bilingual services to Chattanooga's underserved Latino population unrestricted by age, gender, pregnancy, or insurance status. For Latino families, a trip to the doctor for one member is often a trip for the entire family. Children spend hours in the waiting room as other members of the family are seen by the doctor. Building a playground outside of their building will help Clinica Medicos break down the barriers that often keep the community that they serve from receiving the health care that they need. Giving children an active outlet to play together while their family members are getting the care that they need will create a welcoming experience from start to finish.

First Street Slide

Project Leader: Ryan Sandwick

Category: Placemaking

Neighborhood: Riverfront

Haven't you been wondering what we could do with that broken down glass elevator on First Street between Market and Cherry? Ryan Sandwick, in partnership with the Chattanooga Design Studio, wants to turn it into a giant slide that can be enjoyed by everyone through both active and passive play. This playful addition will turn a common Chattanooga thoroughfare, between the pedestrian bridge and the Aquarium, into an unexpected pocket of play where people can come together.

Like Riding a Bicycle

Project Leaders: Katie Hargrave and Brett Hunter

Category: Arts and Culture

Neighborhood: Innovation District

Like Riding a Bicycle is a playful bike tour and skill share in the Innovation District, celebrating the untapped skills present in this changing part of Chattanooga. Based on the axiom, "it's like riding a bicycle," this project creates a platform for conversations to happen among neighbors and connections to stick for the long run. Through a self-guided and artist-led bike tour, participants will "race" to learn things from their neighborsfrom business know-how to unique DIY (do it yourself) skills.

The Muse of Fire Project

Project Leader: Lisa Crowder

Category: Arts and Culture

Neighborhood: All

The Muse of Fire Project is a one-of-a-kind, after-school program that recruits intentionally-diverse students, ages 10 to 12, for a nine-week playwriting workshop filled with learning, fun and creativity. Students develop original short plays and learn the fundamentals of acting and communicating through the written and spoken word, then local adult actors learn and perform the students' plays. TMOFP aims to build bridges in the Chattanooga community by fostering relationships among kids from different demographic groups, to create an experience of success in young people, and to promote literacy and the arts as fun and accessible to everyone. The glorious result for participants and audiences alike is an evening of wonderful, unique stories dramatized in a way that illustrates how children see the world.

P.L.A.Y. (Police Leadership and Youth)

Project Leader: Roenesha Anderson

Category: Youth and Health and Active Living

Neighborhood: Southside & South Chattanooga

P.L.A.Y will bring at-risk youth, and city authority figures, such as police and firefighters, together through basketball, sports and other athletic, team-building activities. This team's goal is to create a two-way street for understanding that the youth might learn not to be afraid of authority figures who are here to help, and that the police and firefighters might get to know and better understand the youth in their communities by coming together on a level playing field through sports.

Senior Play

Project Leader: Anastasia Hanes

Category: Health and Active Living

Neighborhood: All/ Downtown

Local teen volunteers from the Creative Discovery Museum's Museum Apprentice Program will host a special play day event at the museum that focuses on a generation that is often left out of playful activities senior citizens. This project provides the opportunity to build intergenerational relationships and lessen social isolation through play will make a positive difference in the lives of the seniors, teens, and preschoolers who participate. Senior Play brings together senior citizens, teens and pre-school children in a dynamic atmosphere which is designed for play and learning.

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