For servant hearts, filling an expansive room at Cook Convention Center with warmth merited the effort.
Project Homeless Connect – sponsored by FedEx Cares – was full throttle last Thursday (Sept. 19th), with hundreds of needy Memphians receiving assistance and resources.
"This is really a blessing, what y'all are doing for us," one patron told a volunteer. "We really need the help."
Dozens of agencies and service providers collaborated to offer health screenings, housing resources, job search information, IDs, free haircuts, and various other services. Volunteers, about 130 of them, greeted the attendees, ushering them to the source of help that most matched the need.
Three Memphis artists are using their creativity to showcase their talents and help others. Author Alice Faye Duncan, "green" artist Frank D. Robinson Jr. and graphic designer Terry L. Griffin have collaborated to produce the first issue of the World Wall Calendar.
The 2014 Word calendar, which sells for $7, is now available online at www.museumcreations.com. One dollar of each calendar sold through January will benefit Caritas Village, where Frank Robinson serves as artist-in-residence. Copies of the calendar signed by Robinson are also available.
Duncan conceived the idea and identified the empowering words and Bible verses assigned to each month. Robinson illustrated all of the words and artwork. (And yes, he did it all on recycled cardboard from his Binghampton studio.) Griffin, a branding consultant and 19-year veteran of the Memphis design community, designed the calendar, creating a very sleek black and white presentation.
After a robust two weeks of online voting, the results have been tabulated for The New Tri-State Defender's 2nd Annual Best in Black Awards.
On Saturday at the FedExForum, the winners will be revealed during a gala affair spotlighting area favorites among African-American businesses, community organizations and entrepreneurs.
TSD President/Publisher Bernal E. Smith II said 125,800 votes were cast at www.bestinblackawards.com from Sept. 11th through the Sept. 22 cutoff. The voting followed a two-week nomination period that yielded nearly 700 nominations (more than double last year) across 57 categories.
As an elementary school teacher, Fannie Cole Clark noticed that one of her pupils would often fall asleep during classes. Rather than belittle her student, Clark pulled him aside and learned that he was helping support his family by throwing newspapers before daybreak.
Taking matters into her own hands, Clark bought a mat and each morning allowed the student to take a nap in the back of the room. She also worked with him privately, helping him catch up on assignments. As a result, the student went on to excel in his studies.
" Fannie Clark approached every task with passion and enthusiasm – whether it was teaching in the classroom, producing a music concert, or hosting pre-election forums to enable citizens to hear directly from candidates from all political parties," said her niece, Janas Jackson. "She was also keenly sensitive to the needs of others."
Community members are gearing up to host pep rallies for students and teachers on Friday, Oct. 4 to mark the completion of the first quarter of the school year for the unified Shelby County Schools district.
The purpose of the School Success Splash, as it's been dubbed, is to bolster community support for public school children and those who teach them.
Groups of volunteer "cheerleaders" carrying pompoms and signs bearing positive messages will gather outside as many schools as possible one hour before the bell rings to show support for students and appreciation for teachers as the academic day begins.
The energy that it takes to run a mammoth organization that has a 157-year-old track record could be rather exhausting if leadership is not up to par. But leadership has never been a problem for the staff and volunteers of the annual Mid-South Fair; it just keeps growing and evolving.
In March, Jesse V. Johnson was handed the reins of leadership as the Fair's executive director, moving quickly to the helm after he was hired in August 2012 as director of Marketing and Sponsorship Services. Four months later, he was promoted to director of Administrative and Financial Services and Marketing.
The long-running Fair, founded in 1856 "to create a cultural and entertainment experience" for the entire family, is steep in history. Bearing this in mind, Johnson underscores the importance of history, but also understands that diversity and options can enhance the Fair's appeal during its 10-day run, Sept. 20-29, at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss.
Alexander Wallace, 15, attends Douglass High School. In 2016, he plans to walk across the stage as a high school graduate.
So why was he walking around the Pipkin Building on Saturday (Sept. 14) afternoon?
"I've always dreamed about and always have been pretty intent about what I'm going to be in the future," said Wallace. "I want to be something in this world. Some people take the African Americans for granted and I just want to change the face of the earth and things like that."