Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Ava Conley: How I got here

Ava Conley Year one

Photo by Carla McDonald.

I’m Ava and I am wild about my smoking hot husband.

Our fur babies.

Two of our fur babies.

We’re both passionate about caring for children who need families and look forward to adopting in the future. We’ve adopted three animals and counting because every stray I see somehow ends up at our house. I am a photographer, world traveler, dog lover and Jesus follower. I find beauty in seeing something damaged and broken come to life again. I love the meaning of the word ‘restore’ in every sense of the term, whether it is through photos or people who’ve lost who they are along the way or through an old rusty window frame I found on the side of the road. 

The third.

The third.

I’ve been blessed with the incredible opportunity to work as a recruiter with Memphis Teacher Residency and I couldn’t be more thrilled to score such an amazing job.

For years my husband has loved Memphis and always had felt a deep calling to be in the city. Throughout the years my love for Memphis has mostly been lived vicariously through him. I always loved Memphis mostly because he did.

Before we moved here, we were working with high school students in a high-needs area of Montgomery, Alabama. Last March, we brought those students to Memphis to serve on a week-long trip with Serve901. On the trip, our students caught so many glimpses of a place they longed for in their own city. Our students left so encouraged and ready to be agents of change in their very own community. And what I left with was a picture of a place that wasn’t perfect, but a place that I started to fall in love with myself.

Over the next several months, Joshua pursued a position with the Memphis Teacher Residency Masters Program. He was accepted into the program and we said our goodbyes to the only city we knew together. We packed all of our belongings and moved to the city we both finally loved together.

I am excited to start our life here. I am excited to watch the dreams we’ve had for years come true. I am excited to be a part of something bigger than myself and invest my life here. We are truly lucky to live in such a beautiful and broken city. I am excited to be a part of the restoration of this city. I am also excited to see how this city will restore me in the process.