Memphis Athletic Ministries, founded in 1998, exists to grow, coach, and lead the youth of Memphis by helping them discover their identity in Christ and their purpose in the community.
Throughout four centers in underserved communities in Memphis, volunteers and staff mentor ages 8-18 in a variety of after-school activities.
For a program to serve over 700+ youth daily, it has to have a fantastic team and excellent leadership.
Most recently, MAM President & CEO Jonathan Torres has been selected to join SCORE’s seventh cohort of Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute.
He joins an incredible team of leaders across the state of Tennessee in the year-long program aimed to equip individuals with strategies, tools, and knowledge to work towards eliminating barriers to postsecondary education.
We sat down with Torres to discuss what this opportunity means to him and the organization.
What does it mean to you to have someone from MAM represented in this leadership institute?
It is really exciting to be on the CTLI cohort for this year because it gives MAM an opportunity to think through and be part of the solutions to increase our youth access and completion of postsecondary opportunities. It shows that MAM is growing in its influence in the city to impact more youth and prepare them for success after they leave our organization and grow into strong leaders.
What perspective and insights do you think you can bring to the Leadership Institute?
Having worked with youth at a high school level for 10+ years at schools across Memphis, I’ve seen the realities of the obstacles our students are facing to gain access and then complete a postsecondary education. Through the partnerships of K-12 schools, non-profits, government, and postsecondary schools, we can all collectively work together to find ways to remove those obstacles or adjust the ways we serve kids to account for their individual needs.
What changes or advances do you hope to achieve in this year-long program?
I want to grow in my understanding of the resources available to our youth so MAM can support our youth and their families in the sometimes difficult to navigate world of postsecondary education. If you’ve never had access to college or postsecondary education in your family, it can be intimidating to apply for FAFSA, take the ACT, apply for scholarships, etc. Our MAM coaches can help families navigate that world and give them the confidence to face that challenge. As we watch our youth head off to college, we can adjust from being their coaches to also being their biggest fans.
How does MAM’s mission work to eliminate post-secondary education barriers with its programming?
MAM uses our faith, sports, and after school enrichment programming to unleash the amazing potential in our youth and communities. The power of a coach that comes alongside a child and navigates life with them can’t be measured. Sports plays a large influence in our culture in Memphis and we leverage that influence in our youth by coaching them through the wins and losses of life. We also have a mentoring program that matches high school aged youth with a mentor that will help prepare them for life after MAM. We help them set goals for what they want to accomplish in life and then create plans to reach those goals. Our mentors walk alongside our youth and encourage them the entire way.
How can people in Memphis get involved with MAM and help advance the MAM Mission?
Memphis needs Memphis. The only way our city continues to get better is by all of us working together as a team. Teamwork is a core value at MAM and we want people to join our team by volunteering. Volunteers come in a variety of ways, by coaching a team or becoming an assistant coach in basketball, volleyball, soccer, or flag football. We also have opportunities to help our youth with academics in our after school enrichment programs or you can become a mentor to a high school student. Building a relationship with a child and coaching them through life is the greatest opportunity and we are thrilled to offer this life-changing opportunity to our city.
A positive adult role model is extremely important and influential in a young person’s life. Serving as a volunteer coach at MAM can allow you to impact a child on and off the court. Join in on the MAM mission to coach, grow, and lead.