Our Story

For over 10 years, The Howard School’s sole baseball field lay unused, dilapidated, and ignored. All this changed in 2016, when a group of students approached Coach Jon Johnson with the proposal to rebuild their school’s baseball field. 13 grueling months later, the field was rebuilt and the baseball team reborn, due to the students’ hard work and the unrelenting support from the community. Through this experience, the students learned perseverance, initiative, and integrity through the mentorship of the coaching team.

Building upon this success, the Southside Youth Development (SYD) organization was born out of a desire to not only deepen the current impact at The Howard School, but to replicate it in other communities. We believe in the value and transformative power of engaging youth and providing mentorship and character development opportunities through sports. Through SYD’s programs and initiatives, we seek to empower and encourage these young men and women to become the best students, friends, future parents, and community members that they can be, impacting future generations.

Impact Reports

During the Summer of 2021, we were able to recondition the main baseball field at the Emma Wheeler Homes community, investing valuable time and resources to bring this field up to high-school level playing conditions, something that this community had not seen in years. Our volunteers’ efforts to acquire gear and revamp this field allowed for 108 hours (per child) of mentorship and baseball education throughout the summer.

In 2022, we again hosted a summer league, but were also able to add a fall league thanks to our newly hired program coordinator, Josh Harvey, hitting the ground running and creating more opportunities for engaging with the community. This vital decision to bring Josh on board reflects our commitment to strengthening our program, expanding our reach, and to continue identifying ways that we can positively impact the kids in Chattanooga's Southside.

Click below to download our impact reports from recent years:

Our Team

Josh Harvey

Program Coordinator

Programs Committee

Jon Johnson - Howard High School

Matt Murphy - East Lake Academy

Brandon Johnson - Ooltewah Middle School

Robert Purcell - C&I Construction (Retired)

Board of Directors

Xavier Cotto - Tennessee Valley Authority

Dean McKinney - Horizon Stone

Duvall Young - Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Lakesha Carson - East Lake Academy

Kyle Briner - HHM CPA’s


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