Article written by: Corie Ventura
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We believe good news belongs on TV and online. Our community changers series highlights organizations making a positive impact!
This week, we met up with a group creating a safe and encouraging option for students after school.
Friendship, coaching, growing and leading are the very foundation of what MAM, Memphis Athletic Ministries, does. It is a faith-based organization that wants kids to live full and abundant lives. It uses sports as the vehicle to engage with kids.
“We do basketball, flag football, soccer, volleyball, cheerleading and dance,” Jonathan Torres said.
It’s not all about sports. Their afterschool programs include fitness challenges, devotion and literacy for third through fifth graders.
“We focus on literacy after school. We’ve partnered with Literacy Mid-South and Arise2Read”, Torres said.
For middle school students, they focus on sports and personal development “We focus on sport. Being able to teach how to handle the emotions that we deal with every single day,” Torres said.
For high schoolers, they focus on guidance and finding a mentor. “We do mentoring. We match them up with adults who are going to help them set goals,” Torres said.
We caught up with Jonathan Torres at the Grizzlies Center located in the Alcy Ball neighborhood. It is one of their eight locations across the city. He is the President and CEO of MAM.
“We believe that regardless of what zip code you live in, you should have amazing experiences in life,” Torres said.
That is why every detail you encounter is intentional. From clouds being placed over the lights in the classrooms to a ladies’ lounge with a nail station.
“I think it’s a great environment for girls to just go and relax. Sometimes we’ll paint each other’s fingers,” a student, Travisha Jackson told us. “We just get to talk, and no boys and like and we just get to feel comfortable.”
This is why our anonymous donor wanted to give MAM a thousand dollars.
Because when you create a fun, inviting, safe place to be after school and it is free, the whole city wins. Memphis Athletics Ministries is a true Community Changer.