South Memphis Alliance (SMA) opened its doors in 2000 to help organize neighborhood associations in the urban communities of South Memphis. Over time, services expanded to serve youth in foster care and families in need. SMA works to improve the health, knowledge, and stability of young people, families and communities, through social services, mentoring and advocacy. Despite SMA’s growth, we hold fast to our core belief that civic engagement is the bedrock of strong communities, and that strong communities promote stable families.
Our objective it to provide culturally specific services to families in crisis. We offer support and services in the following areas:
- anger management
- domestic violence
- substance abuse
- HIV/AIDS testing/counseling
- physical and mental health
- goal setting
- personal/community engagement, including for youth – – an opportunity to serve on a leadership board, called Y4Y or Youth for Youth
- financial education (including individual development accounts, or matched savings)
- MRT © (Moral Reconation Therapy)
Through the SMA Dream Seekers Program and various partnerships, SMA provides what is needed for young people, families and communities to improve the health, knowledge and stability through social services, advocacy and mentoring.
SMA partners with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and follows a nationally renowned model, called the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a platform specially designed for the needs of youth from foster care. SMA is also a DCS Community Collaborative Partner, providing support to young people and families in need, recruiting foster families and training community representatives (those who attend DCS meetings to represent a voice for the client).
Through a partnership with the Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth (OECY), SMA is a provider in OECY’s Teen Plus program, offering young teens pregnancy and parenting support. Teen Plus participants are connected to Teen Plus Early Success Partners, and earn “bucks” by engaging in SMA Dream Seekers classes, equipping them to be parents. They “spend earned bucks” at the SMA Hope Chest baby store, where they receive diapers, car seats, high chairs, and much more!
SMA recognizes the need to meet families where they already are, and through the SMA Laundromat and Resource Center (LRC), families may receive prevention services while utilizing the facilities, and this endeavor also serves as a steady stream of funding for SMA.