April is Autism Awareness Month and many people misunderstand or just don't know about the lives of children diagnosed with autism. Shannon King Nash is on a mission to turn that around.
Nash's 14-year-old son has autism. She is the creator of "Color My Mind," a groundbreaking documentary on autism awareness. The film features five mothers of autistic children and provides a glimpse of their journey to overcome the challenges their children face.
At one point, Nash felt as though she was the only person in the world – especially in the African-American community – dealing with such a situation. She would go to autism-support groups and not see many African-American people. Knowing that autism doesn't exclusively attack any one racial group, she couldn't figure out why people of color where so uninformed – or just didn't want to accept it.
Evidence aplenty – anecdotal and studies – exists to bolster the declaration that arts programs are crucial to student development and performance. That was the backdrop recently as Memphis City Schools hosted the fourth annual ArtsFest at the Board of Education to spotlight the district's arts program.
School groups in the visual, music and dance arts from various schools, including Overton High School, Florida, Kansas Elementary and Hickory Ridge Middle performed on stages. The students were able to showcase their talents, and it was an experience for teachers as well.
ArtsFest is an extension of the hard work arts teachers, also known as non-tested teachers, put in with their pupils throughout the school year. Although there is no standardized test for the arts, teachers must still ensure their students show growth throughout the year.
Ladell Beamon and the Heal the Hood Foundation of Memphis take another step in their fight against youth crime and violence with the "The Living the Dream Conference & Benefit Concert" on Saturday (April 20).
American Way Middle School at 3805 American Way will be the venue. The conference is set for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. prior to the benefit concert from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The purpose of "The Living The Dream Conference and Benefit Concert" is to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by raising funds and awareness for "not-for-profit organizations that demonstrate clear, community-driven solutions to social issues that stem from social economic disempowerment."
Dr. Rod Paige Sr. – the 7th United States Secretary of Education and the first African American to serve in that role – will be the keynote speaker at the annual Educational Advancement Foundation Breakfast hosted by the Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
The breakfast event, designed to continue the sorority's legacy of scholarship and service, will be held at Middle Baptist Church, 801 Whitehaven Lane, on Saturday (April 20) from 10 a.m. to noon.
"Awesome Support for Education: The AKA Way" is the theme.
The Upward Steps Outreach Girls Ministry held its Second Annual Father-Daughter Princess Ball last Saturday (April 13) at the Davis Community Center in Orange Mound.
Rosemary Austin, Tammy Adolphus and Desiree Thomas run an after-school program via the ministry, focusing on girls from the 4th grade through high school. Brandi Burson, a 10th grade student a White Station High School, was crowned queen.
At Crump Elementary School in southeast Memphis, renowned neurosurgeon, author and rising political factor Dr. Ben Carson rapidly is becoming a lifeline.
Carson was in Memphis Wednesday as part of the "Think Big, Dream L.I.G.H.T." Enlightenment Seminar held on the campus of the University of Memphis. He's never stepped foot inside of Crump, but now he has shaken hands with some of the school's Eagles.
That pressing of the flesh came at the Holiday Inn-University after a private luncheon and before a meet-and-greet mixer with U of M students prior to the public seminar at the Michael Rose Theater. The look on his face and on the faces of the students spoke to the instant connection.
Forty girls from throughout the Mid-South will receive a charge to remain abstinent from sexual and substance abuse behaviors during the inaugural Promise Ball Oath Ceremony & Ring Presentation at the Cook Convention Center on Sunday (April 21).
Pinky Promise International (PPI) is sponsoring the event, which begins at 5 p.m.
The participants – high school students in grades 9-12 – will make their pledges before a crowd expected to number about 900. Vivian Scott Chew, Intercontinental Music Executive, Founder and Principal of TimeZone International will be the keynote speaker. Chew is the wife of Ray Chew, musical director for "American Idol."