As founder and executive director of St. Alexius Outreach Ministries, Susan Chill, together with the Alexian Brothers, seeks to show Chattanooga’s elders that they are cared for and valued.
With a lifetime of interest in social services, Susan’s passion for serving older adults developed at the early age of seventeen while working for the Alexian Brothers at the Inn on Signal Mountain. It was an Alexian Brother who first recognized her passion and encouraged her to pursue social work, which led her to earn a BSW with a focus in gerontology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
After obtaining her degree, Susan gained invaluable experience as a medical social worker with Hospice of Chattanooga providing case management for patients and their families in both the home and acute care setting. After serving with Hospice of Chattanooga for five years, Susan returned to work for the Brothers as the Director of Social Services at the Alexian Village Health and Rehabilitation Center on Signal Mountain. This provided her with the experience and support needed to accept an offer from the Alexian Brothers to discern new outreach ministries for the congregation.
In 2014, she began working to identify unmet needs in the Chattanooga community and it did not take long to recognize that many older adults were quietly struggling with isolation and loneliness which was slowly eroding their quality of life. With the permission and support of the Alexian Brothers, St. Alexius Outreach Ministries, Inc. was founded in 2017 and started its first program, Hospitality at Home using a “boots on the ground” model of care. The ministry offers opportunities to provide ongoing friendship and supportive services to vulnerable older adults experiencing isolation and loneliness. Meeting people where they are, Susan recognizes that true change happens through ongoing relationship. Today, with the service and presence of the Alexian Brothers, our dedicated volunteers and committed staff serve a growing number of program participants who have blessed the ministry with their friendship.
As Program Coordinator for St. Alexius Outreach Ministries, Sidney Barham is focused on program development and evaluation, community partnership, and volunteer recruitment and training. Sidney believes that developing leadership within communities through volunteerism is critical in making sure that our elders know they are cared for and valued.
As a middle and high school student, Sidney's parents offered a home to several foster children, which is when she was first drawn to social services. In college, Sidney was provided coursework, employment, and volunteer experiences focused on community and program development, which led her to pursue social work. During graduate school, she served as a case manager for an employment training program and served as part of an interdisciplinary team to develop curriculum and counselor training for military and first responder couples.
Most recently, Sidney spent a year working as a site coordinator for a ministry serving individuals and families in crisis. In addition to her current role at St. Alexius Outreach Ministry, she is a part-time faculty member at Lee University. Sidney holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Lee University and a master’s in Social Work from Baylor University. When Sidney is not at work, you can find her spending time with friends, reading, and exploring Chattanooga – almost always with a cup of coffee (or ice cream) in hand!
Br. Richard Kane, C.F.A.
Br. Richard Kane has been serving at St. Alexius Outreach Ministry since its incorporation. His joy and compassion are evident in all of his interactions with staff, volunteers, and participants.
Penny’s owner was referred to St. Alexius Outreach Ministries by TN Adult Protective Services for self-neglect. She loved her pets but, due to her deteriorating health and home, she was no longer able to provide proper care for them, Penny was crated for long-periods of time without fresh water or exercise. After her owner was placed in a long-term care facility, Penny was adopted by Susan. Her original owner receives weekly visits from her beloved dog and we have a new friend.