By: Taylor McPherson, Director of Communications and Community Engagement
We all come from different walks and talks of life. But do we remember those who shaped us along the way? Chances are, there’s one person in particular who assumed the role of a mentor in your life, whether they knew their impact or not.
There’s no denying the power that mentoring has in our communities and in our youth. Our good friends and mission partner, Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM), have been a catalyst for these relationships since 1998. Now operating in 8 locations after 23 years, the organization has grown to regularly serve 700 youth per day, ages 8-18, in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
While COVID-19 has decreased capacity these days, the staff are still faithful in their mission to coach, grow, and lead the youth of Memphis by helping them discover their identity in Christ and their purpose in the community. Fortunately, they have the solution to meet this vision with their wide range of year-round mentoring programs.
“Our facilities are doing safe, virtual learning until 3:00 p.m. on weekdays. After that, we host an after-school program and we have adult mentors in facilities at all sites,” said Vince Alfonso, Facilities & Golf Director. “Our after-school program includes Bible Studies, fitness challenges and soccer.” However, they also offer programming well after school is out for the summer. Those interested can be on the lookout for the summer academy, which gives parents an opportunity to drop their children off in the morning for full days of activities with MAM.
The organization has also started the spring season with news of the next president and CEO, Jonathan Torres, who previously served as the organization’s vice president and chief operating officer. Torres will assume the new role starting April 1. “Our board did an extensive search for about 18 months. They wanted to make sure that they found the right candidate and a lot of prayer went into this,” said Vince. “They found that Torres was the right man for the job, and he has overwhelming support from the staff.”
Those looking for ways to show their support for MAM can do so through donations, whether they be one-time contributions or as a MAM MVP, in which participants pledge a monthly donation. “Anyone who can contribute monthly is always a tremendous asset. We encourage the MVP concept of pledging $10 or $20 month. That gives our organization a real solid footing.”
Interested participants and groups are also encouraged to check out volunteer opportunities with MAM, which abide by CDC guidelines. Needs range from mentors to academic assistance, and even outdoor work. “We’re always looking for groups that can come and assist us with our exterior and outdoor maintenance,” said Vince.
There are great things on the horizon for this organization, including a large fundraiser taking place in July called the inaugural Golf Ball Helicopter Drop. Stay tuned for more news on the event from Memphis Athletic Ministries.