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Give901 Goes the Extra Mile for the MAM Center

William Smith, City Leadership resident, rallied with local members of the community to host a service day in support of the MAM Center. Here’s his take:

When it comes to making an impact as a nonprofit, raking leaves, removing tree limbs, and gathering piles of garbage aren’t typically taken into consideration.

Usually you think about the work being done and discussed during meetings over espresso—or lunch with potential partners. 

Even being in an air conditioned room to meet with Choose901 Alumni is a luxury. Yes, that work does make a difference when it comes to advocating for another cause—however there’s something about the feeling of not just talking about the changes you want to see in the city, but actually putting your hands to work to make them happen. 

A black and white photo of a man with dreadlocks at the MAM Center.

This past week I had the opportunity to see just how dirty Kristen Davis, Director of Strategic Partnerships at City Leadership, gets her hands as she advocates and fundraises for local organizations.

On President's Day 2023, Give901 partnered with Memphis Athletic Ministries, 901 Fund, and Ware jones realtors to clear a rain gutter that was causing flooding to the soccer field at MAM.

A group of people posing for a photo with trash bags at the MAM Center.

This field is one of few spots cleared and dedicated for outdoor activities, so naturally they want to do everything they can to take care of it—but with only one ground crew responsible for tending to needs across the facility, more support is needed.

When City Leadership puts their hands on a project, it’s no regular service day.

It’s hard enough getting people to work on a national holiday, especially when they have kids who are out of school. So what was the incentive? What did City Leadership provide to inspire Memphians to take action on their off day?

Every true Memphian loves the Memphis Tigers through thick and thin—and Give901 brought a local basketball star out to share his story of trials and triumphs.

The day after a chess-match basketball game against the no. 2 ranked Houston Cougars, Memphis Tiger Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu—a 6’10 senior player from Lagos, Nigeria—joined us at the MAM Center to speak about losing his mother to breast cancer, coming to America, and how heavily he relied on his english teacher.

A group of people posing for a picture at MAM Center gym.

 “My accent was so thick, but she would stay after school to help me develop my english,” Kao said. 

He went on to describe the important role his local rec gym played in developing his skills as a player. As someone who hadn’t picked up a basketball until he was 13, he truly relied on those after school opportunities to grind out in the gym. Without it he probably wouldn’t have the 47-inch vertical he has now. 

His story like so many others is a true testimonial of how important good teachers are needed to have a direct impact on students in the classroom.

Similarly, it speaks to how valuable local gyms like the MAM Center are for student engagement after school. Unfortunately MAM has hit a rough patch at their Alcy Ball Road location, a very vital neighborhood resource.

The MAM Center services over 250 students throughout the week as a hub to study, get tutored, and find fun through sports.

A group of young people posing for a photo at the MAM Center field.
Two young boys posing for a photo at the MAM Center.

At this point, I know you’re wondering how you can get to work to support their efforts. Your service doesn’t have to be physical! You can give through Give901 or directly to the organization by becoming a MAM MVP donor.

Whatever way you give, your gift will be going to an amazing cause that cares about the wellbeing of youth in Memphis. 

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