Teen burials lead pastor to establish Purpose Point Learning Academy


According to Ellwanda White, not long ago her spiritual leader–the senior pastor at Chattanooga’s Mt. Canaan Baptist Church–shared something with her that was weighing heavy on his mind.

“My pastor, Dr. Ternae Jordan Sr., noticed that he had been burying a lot of teenagers, 14- and 15-year-olds,” White recalled. “He felt there was something missing in a lot of these kids’ lives, and believed that maybe nobody was reaching them early enough to teach them rules and regulations, or to teach them about life skills and good attitudes.”

Pastor Jordan asked White, who once held the position of field supervisor for Child and Adult Care Licensing–which involved working with abused children and children in the foster care system–if she would consider serving as executive director of what was to become Purpose Point Learning Academy (PPLA).

It was an immediate “yes” for White, a woman of strong faith, who describes herself as being a person “placed on earth to

be in service to others.”

Earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga,  White is a member of the Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA) and the Chattanooga Association for Children’s Early Education (ChACEE).

She explained that PPLA–in partnership with Chattanooga Christian School–will open Oct. 4, as a high-quality early learning program providing a nurturing, safe and positive environment for children ages 12 months to 12 years.

Its child-centered approach and creative curriculum will focus on assisting kids with homework and scholastic readiness, as well as social and emotional skills and development, she said.

White added that PPLA’s comprehensive methods will directly encompass parents, qualified educators and other service providers; and promote a culture that exemplifies success by integrating passion, accountability and innovation.

“We’re really excited, and look forward to making an impact on the lives of the children and families Purpose Point will serve,” she said.

The 3,000 sq. ft. PPLA will be housed at Chattanooga’s Mt. Canaan Baptist Church, 4801 Highway 58, Suite 105. It will be open year around, Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m., but closed on state holidays.

Ten teachers will accommodate no more than 58 total students, and a cook will provide nutritious hot meals each day.

“Chattanooga has a lot of childcare facilities,” White noted. “But not a whole lot of quality programs that will provide wraparound services for the children, as well as for parents, like Purpose Point Learning Academy does. A key thing we have is quality.”

For further information on Purpose Point Learning Academy, call (423) 364-7878, or access www.pplacha.org.