Build Me A World

By Build Me a World

The Project

Project Impact

Relevance to Mission

How $2,000 Helps

Donor Information:

Donor Name: Chris Woodhull

Generous Donor

Location: Chattanooga, TN

Gift Amount: -

BMW is an inner city youth movement developing the next wave of leaders by using wisdom circles and digital storytelling, no joke. It works

How We Give Life

God is in places we’re afraid to go.
If you wanna talk to him,
you gotta set yourself in his path.
You gotta drop your shield.
Take the arrows.
Get hit.

It’s hard—
hard to have a good heart.
Hard to care;
to want to love.
That’s why most people give it up.

With these opening lines, the Build Me a World (BMW) promotional video premiers here on the Giving of Life website for the very first time.  Enjoy an example of the same beautiful art that will come out of the BMW studio on Market Street.

BMW is an underground youth movement in Chattanooga birthed from a single work of art, the Build Me a World documentary by Fancy Rhino. 

BMW is the movement side of the documentary developing the next wave of talented leaders from some of the most violent corners of Chattanooga by using tools like wisdom circles, mentoring, the process of digital storytelling, apprenticeships, all combining to support the talented students at the Howard School to locate, articulate and create their new stories, their new lives.

In 2012 Fancy Rhino premiered the award winning documentary Build Me a World, portraying the struggle, tenacity and beauty of the students at the historic Chattanooga high school, the Howard School, the first black public school in the South.

Already one year old, BMW is taking the step of a single documentary project and establishing it as a year-round movement with a high end recording studio in the downtown offices of Fancy Rhino.

The talented students of Howard are performing a kind of alchemy suggested in the Book of Isaiah 2:4 “...they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and study war no more.”


Here is what Dominique, one of the young men from the BMW promo has to say:

“I feel like the work of BMW is important, at least in my life, it gives you a place to express your feelings, open up, and think about things, really think about life, about God and then to put into action what you come up with. 

Usually there is no time to think about any of that.  Most people get clogged in their thinking.

I used to get high a lot, get into fights, as far as what i wanted to do with my life, I didn’t think about it, it really didn’t cross my mind to think about the future or hope or any of that kind of stuff.  Maybe I thought if I hoped I would get to feeling sad.

My main change is that I was given the opportunity, the idea to think, to hope, to dream.

I am now at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and doing pretty well.  I am the first person from my family to even think about college.

What I love about BMW and the video is that is makes you feel hopeful about people and a part of the city that you probably usually feel sad or maybe even fear.

I am grateful to God for this whole new way of thinking, living and dreaming.  Maybe some people will look at the video or at me and begin to wonder about the possibilities for them.  Thanks for listening.”