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Unity Dinner

Sep 12, 2012   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments
SMA Unity Dinner

Mark your calendars  – – Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, from 6-8pm

The SMA Unity Dinner, an annual celebration of the work being done in South Memphis, by SMA, its affiliate communities, partners, and concerned citizens – will take place again in 2013, on Saturday, October 19, from 6-8pm. The 2012 dinner featured DJ Dewayne Benton from 95.7 FM Hallelujah as emcee and special guest Congressman Cohen as keynote speaker. Attendees enjoyed dinner and performances by Voices of MAHS (Memphis Academy of Health Sciences), and observed SMA participants sharing their very personal stories about how they came to foster care and to SMA. It was an enjoyable and meaningful evening. The Elbert “Skip” Rich awards went to Audrey Gonzalez from Juvenile Court, Sheila Flemming-Hunter from The Black Rose Foundation and Memphis CARES Mentoring Movement (pictured below, left) and The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (also pictured below, middle).








Don’t miss the next Unity Dinner. Click here to purchase tickets for 2013.

The milk “bottle” comes down

Sep 7, 2012   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

The milk “bottle” on top of the old dairy building has come down, as of Friday, September 7, 2012!

Exciting times ahead with the development of the SMA Center for Families and Children.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Gateway to Soulsville Changing with SMA Demolition and Construction

Aug 29, 2012   //   by admin   //   News, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

The Reed Brothers dairy plant was built in 1930 and has been vacant for over 20-years and had become a blight to the entrance to the community of Soulsville U.S.A. This is all changing…

Once the building is demolished SMA will move forward on a capital campaign to raise the six million dollars needed to build a Center for Families and Children at that site.

“You can not ignore the coincidence of replacing a dairy plant that provided nutritional substance to families with a nonprofit center dedicated to nurturing families,” said Jan Young, director of the Assisi Foundation.

Congressman Steve Cohen, Mayor A.C. Wharton, Councilman Joe Brown, Councilman Edmund Ford, Councilman Myron Lowery, Assisi Foundation Executive Director Jan Young, Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb, Reverend Reginald Porter, Field Office Director at Housing and Urban Development John Gemmill, community residents and many others came to celebrate SMA’s plans to demolish a derelict dairy plant and to put a new twist to an old Laundromat.

Not ignoring the significant historical importance of the dairy, SMA made a special presentation to Chief Executive Officer Dick Hackett of the Children’s Museum of Memphis by donating the 30+ foot tall milk jug that stood atop of the old dairy for 82-years.  Hackett said plans are to refurbish the milk jug and find a functional way to incorporate it into an exhibit for children in Memphis to continue to enjoy.

The audience also came to celebrate SMA’s plan to convert an out of date Laundromat, that at one time was slated to become a nightclub, into a state-of-the-art facility providing not only laundry services to this urban community but prevention services as well. Reginald Milton, executive director of SMA stated, “The community residents came to us and asked if there was anything we could do to prevent the loss of this needed business. So we bought the Laundromat.” After operating the business for a few years Mr. Milton realized that many of the same clients that the agency was serving also were customers of the laundry. So the question was asked, “Why not provide prevention services to these customers while they are sitting there waiting for their clothes to wash and dry?” With this idea in mind Mr. Milton approached Ms. Jan Young, director of the Assisi Foundation of Memphis and Mr. Robert Lipscomb, director of Memphis Housing and Community Development to secure the funds necessary to completely renovate this rundown laundry into the Community Laundromat and Resource Center.

“This is much more than changing a building; this is a place where we will build people,” said Mayor A C Wharton, during the ceremony.

SMA’s plans for both of these buildings are in line with it mission in servicing, mentoring and advocating for young people and families in need.

Neighborhood leaders like Tommy Evans, President of the 35th Ward Civic Club, viewed the rendering of the SMA Center for Families and Children.






Many local media outlets covered this event, including this article by The Commercial Appeal and this article by The Daily News.

Successful Hope Chest Grand Opening

Aug 20, 2012   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments










SMA’s Successful Hope Chest Grand Opening, Aug. 17, 2012; part of OECY’s “Baby Crawl”

The Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth (OECY) Teen Plus program showed off its four baby stores in Memphis on Friday, Aug. 17, with SMA’s Hope Chest being one of those stores. The showcase kicked off at the Rangeline Community Development Corp. location and moved on to Cathedral of Faith before coming to SMA’s Dream Seekers Resource Center at 1200 S. Third, where Hope Chest resides. The “Baby Crawl” ended at the Hickory Hill Redevelopment Corp. location.

Teen Plus provides pregnant and parenting teens support and resources, such as parenting education, prenatal care, connections to Early Success partners, and more. By utilizing the support and resources, Teen Plus participants earn “points” they can then use or “spend” at these “baby stores” to “purchase” items such as diapers, formula, clothing and cribs, car seats, high chairs, play yards, and much more.

Hope Chest is visited by appointment only. Referrals and appointments should go through SMA’s Youth Services Manager Christine Telford at 901.774.9582 or

While at the grand opening, guests learned more about SMA as well. Below are some of the media coverage on the “Baby Crawl” event.

The Commercial Appeal:

WMC-TV/Channel 5:


WREG-TV/Channel 3:


SMA Family Laundry and Resource Center

Mar 5, 2012   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

When SMA moved to its present location at 1048 S. Bellevue Blvd. it was adjacent to a run-down Coin-Laundromat. The owner had decided to retire and sell the building, and the only taker was an individual wishing to turn the building into a nightclub. Many of the residents were concerned and asked SMA to help; so the agency purchased the facility with the goal of keeping it as a Laundry but with a broader mission. SMA was able to raise $800,000 to purchase new state-of-the-art washers and dryers, and completely upgrade the facility.

In March 2012 SMA will close the laundromat. Over the next six-months the building will receive a needed facelift. When reopened in late summer of 2012, the new laundromat will be called the SMA Family Laundry and Resource Center. Not only will residents be able to come to a clean and safe place to wash their clothes but they will also be able to access needed information and social services. SMA will use the laundromat to provide residents with access to needed assistance. There will be a computer center, a training room and even a child playing area.

Clennie Jean Carter: A Name Not to be Forgotten

Mar 5, 2012   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

In 1992, I first met Jean. She and I both attended a local neighborhood watch meeting. I could see the commitment and passion she had for her community. I was not surprised when she became President of that association years later. She also became one of my dearest friends. We remember the names of people who make a winning touchdown or beat the clock in the 4th quarter with a three-pointer. There is another name that should not be forgotten and that is the noble soul who gives so others may have a better life. This was Jean, who passed away on November 8, 2011, a selfless community organizer who dedicated her life to her neighborhood.

In a world of idolizing superstars, the rich and the famous, we should remember those that pass though our lives and make it just a little better. To all the Clennie “Jean” Carters of the world, we thank you and know you will not be forgotten.

— Reginald Milton

Children of Alcoholics Week, every February

Feb 14, 2012   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

An estimated 25 percent of all children in the United States are affected by or exposed to a family alcohol problem. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) during its Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week. COA Week celebrates the recovery of the many thousands of children (of all ages) who have received the help they needed to recover from the pain and losses suffered in their childhood, and it offers hope to those still suffering from the adverse impact of parental alcohol and drug addiction.

During COA Week, we acknowledge the millions of children affected by a parent’s substance use disorder and celebrate that there is hope and healing for these children now and throughout their lives. This week—and throughout the year—remember to ask, “What about the children?” when speaking about recovery from substance use disorders.


Congratulations to Jasmine Howard, our first Dream Seeker “match”

Jan 11, 2012   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments
Jasmine Howard was the first SMA Dream Seeker to make a financial match.  She used her matched funds to attend the spring and summer sessions at Southwest Tennessee Community College in 2011, in her pursuit of a degree in Social Work. She will be the first in her family to achieve this goal!  Congratulations Jasmine!

SMA Operations Director Karen Morgan congratulates Dream Seeker Jasmine Howard

Dream Seekers complete financial literacy class

Nov 11, 2011   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

SMA provides young people who are or were in foster care with the skills to manage their finances and plan for their future. The youth have hands-on lessons on credit, saving, loans, budgeting and spending. For attending the classes, participants receive seed money of $100 in a newly established account at First Tennessee Bank, which has been an indispensable partner from the start.

Dream Seekers Initiative matches the savings of each young person, 1 to 1, up to $1,000 a year in special plans called individual development accounts. Each participant must have a goal in mind for the money and they cannot withdraw their funds until they have a plan of action. Car down payments, rent deposits and college tuition are examples of how these dollars are used.

“Generally, your parents are the ones who teach you these financial situations. They take you to the bank and show you how to write a check and all that stuff. When you’re in foster care, everyone else is hoping someone else will do it and it just never gets done,” said Karen Morgan, Director of Programs for SMA. “Once they hear the match, they’re hooked on Dream Seekers,” she laughed.

SMA graduates 10 – 15 youth every three months. The initiative is designed to provide holistic support to these individuals from the age of 14 and until they turn 25 years old.

For more information or if you would like to be a sponsor, contact Karen Morgan at 901-774-9582.

Dream Seekers is supported in part by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

First Tennessee donates building to SMA

Oct 11, 2011   //   by admin   //   News  //  No Comments

First Tennessee Bank has generously donated a 9,000-square-foot-office building to SMA. We are presently seeking funding to upgrade the building for community services. First Tennessee has also been a key partner in helping SMA in its Dream Seekers initiative, and we wish to thank them for their support of our agency, and commend them for their long history of community services.

Watch for more news in 2012 about our efforts to redevelop this building!


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