Member Spotlights

An interview with Cynthia Ham - President & CEO of BRIDGES

“Through our Bridge Builders program we unite and inspire diverse young people to become confident and courageous leaders. Our philosophy is that youth deserve to be respected and acknowledged for the positive difference they can make in Memphis. In the course of a year, we impact 6,000 students in 144 schools and in 57 zip codes. Some people think that because we're a social service agency, we target under-served youth.  In fact, the point of Bridge Builders is to bring together youth from all walks of life to get to know one another and appreciate what they have in common and how they may think differently.”

An interview with Amelia Barton - CEO of DeltaARTS

“The Delta Arts Mission is transforming the delta through imaginative arts education. Our programs are grounded in two national arts education philosophies- the Lincoln Center and WolfTrap. We work in the schools by beginning with teacher training around aesthetic education. Teachers work with professional artists and they find connections within their curriculum to arts, which gives students the opportunity to be creative, imagine, and explore. The teachers make incredibly authentic connections that are rich and deep. Right now they are working on the philosophies of Maxine Green and Howard Gardener. Maxine says that imagination is “the ability to think of things as if they could be otherwise”. As we work with teachers, we encourage them to think of their teaching as just that. We actually had a teacher who came to our workshop and was planning to retire- she was a great teacher, but she was burned out. Because of our aesthetic education workshop, she was renewed- she had discovered this new way of teaching and it inspired her to stay another five years. ”

An interview with Lisa Moore - CEO of Girls Incorporated of Memphis

“We inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Strong, emotional and physical health; Smart, academic success and career aspirations; and Bold, effective life skills. Over 2400 girls ages 6-18 from over 60 zip codes in Shelby County participant annually in our programs. Regardless of the program you join, all girls get the Girls Inc. experience. This experience includes trained professionals and volunteers that take their mentoring role seriously, programs that are hands on, research based, age sequential, and outcomes-driven. We offer a pro-girl/girl-only environment that provides a safe place for girls to explore and tap into their strengths and abilities.”

An interview with Richard Graham - CEO of JIFF, Inc.

“We work with court assigned young men, ages 12 to 17, which are referred to us through Juvenile Court. On average, our youth have been through the juvenile court system at least three times before they come to us. Once enrolled at JIFF, they participate in a 16 week mentoring program that’s designed to redirect their value system and their behaviors. We focus on the H’s- head, heart, health (mind, body, and spiritual), home, hobbies, and hire-ability. Ultimately we are trying to get them to realize they have God given gifts. We help them develop a life plan and get them started on the right track. We do this through several tracks: mentoring, after-school programming, and strategic partnerships like CBU’s Enactus program that promotes financial health, Visible Music College that teaches music production, and Sweet La La's Bakery that provides on-the-job skills training. Our vision is to see our youth flourish, free from a life of crime.”

An interview with Sally Heinz - Executive Director of Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association

“MIFA supports the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis. Our senior programs promote independence, health companionship, and dignity. For example, these programs include Meals on Wheels and senior transit services, which allows seniors to stay in their homes. For families in crisis, we offer a continuum of services designed to prevent homelessness. This might include interventions ranging from one time utility assistance, to shelter placement, to rapid rehousing. The beauty of rapid rehousing is that we can house a family in the neighborhood that they want to live in and the family receives a Family Housing Advocate, which is a MIFA staff member that keeps in touch with the families and helps them connect to social services.”

An interview with Parke Pepper - Executive Director of The Baddour Center

“The Baddour Center is dedicated to providing a model residential community for adults with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities in an environment that promotes maximum growth intellectually, spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally and vocationally. In short, we help people grow. We help them reach their potential- it’s not just a buzz line when we say that we help people live, work, worship, and play. ”