“Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37-39
Nationally juvenile crime increases 300% in after-school hours. In Memphis, the urban community is not only marked by a high rate of juvenile crime but also high poverty rates, high incidence of single parent families and low academic achievement. To bring hope to what the world sees as a hopeless situation, the most critical need is the life-changing power found only through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Harvard Family Research Project concluded that “well implemented [after school] programs can have a positive impact on a range of academic, social, prevention, and other outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged children and youth” provided there is “sustained participation in well-structured and well-implemented after school programs and activities.”
A variety of studies have also shown that sports alone can have significant benefits to disadvantaged youth such as appreciation of fitness, increased sense of belonging, increased moral development and positive academic outcomes.
MAM provides year- round, Christ-centered mentoring programs with well-trained staff to youth, ages 8 to 18, through eight centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This is done in partnership with families, schools and other community organizations.
Our solution includes:
1) attracting participation by using organized sports to draw at-risk neighborhood youth to MAM centers.
2) creating a nurturing environment through small mentoring groups led by MAM staff at each neighborhood center to share the love of Jesus Christ and foster healthy relationships.
3) providing comprehensive programs that address the physical, mental, social and spiritual needs of youth.
4) promoting community involvement by organizing community-wide sports activities throughout Shelby County in order to bring about socio-economic and racial reconciliation.
MAM program participants’ ages range from 8 to 18 and their demographics are broken down as follows: 95% are African American and 5% are Hispanic; 60% are boys and 40% are girls. Over 750 youth participate daily through eight neighborhood centers serving under resourced neighborhoods.
MAM conducted a survey of 505 of our active participants in 2015 in which individual results were anonymous. 46% of the surveyed youth have been active in MAM activities (small group mentoring, Bible study, academic enrichment, and sports) for more than three years. Here are the results of the survey:
MAM uses a variety of means to attract youth into our centers and introduce them to the life-changing power of the Gospel. Our Christ-centered programs are used to teach life lessons and help our youth grow in their faith.
Youth who are interested in getting more deeply involved in MAM programs participate on youth leadership teams. These groups spend more intentional time participating in a variety of events including Bible studies, sports, academics, social activities and community service projects. MAM staff provide the deeper level of discipleship and life-on-life time with these youth.
Our neighborhood centers provide a safe environment for youth to socialize and enjoy recreation every day after school. Youth benefit from being away from the street in a structured environment with adult role models and supervision. As part of after school recreation, youth participate in large group Christian devotionals held daily.
Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to every young person is fundamental to achieving MAM’s mission. Mentors spend intentional time discussing Christian values and teaching Scripture. The goal is for every youth to understand how God’s truth makes a difference in his or her daily life.
Sports offered to our youth include basketball, soccer, volleyball, golf, cheerleading and flag football. Team participation also gives youth exposure to other segments of the greater Memphis area by playing outside their neighborhoods.
Our academic program teaches boys and girls to become more diligent and hard-working in their studies to succeed in high school and beyond. MAM provides daily homework help and reading literacy for elementary and middle school participants. We believe that our youth must be able to read and understand scripture in order to grow in faith in Jesus Christ
The career readiness program combines work and training in order to develop employable individuals for success in the workforce. Youth earn a program stipend by working and attending training classes. They are learning about specific occupational skills and workplace settings, establishing a work history, connecting with potential employers and understanding different occupations to make informed career choices.
Our community sports leagues serve youth in Memphis and the metropolitan area by offering a way to connect the different cultures that make up our city and its suburbs. Through numerous alliances with local churches, schools and other community organizations, MAM offers community basketball leagues year round.
The MAM Park outdoor activity center offers the general public of all ages a place to experience healthy outdoor recreational activities free of charge. It is open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am until dark. Multiple groups can play the different games simultaneously. Individuals do not have to schedule a time to play.
You can enjoy playing:
If you are interested in scheduling a group, contact Rajah Brown, Chief Program Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901.461.6269.