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Memphis Gap Year Programs

So you’ve just finished college, you want to be a leader in your field, and you’re wondering if there’s any way to get practical, relevant experience. Fortunately, there are gap year programs that provide just that, and these programs give you the mentoring and teaching you need instead of throwing you into the work force cold turkey.

Consider these 6 meaningful gap year programs right here in Memphis.

Each are training up leaders in their field who are more prepared than most to take on the unique challenges in their line of work, and who have the guidance of a network of professionals.

A group of Memphis Teacher Residency students holding certificates in front of a building.

The Church Health Scholars program is a service learning fellowship for recent four-year college graduates interested in serving underserved populations. The goals for this program are to develop socially-conscious leaders, to provide an understanding of the intersection of faith and health, to provide professional and career development, and to foster a sense of community among the cohort, staff, and the community.

Church Health aims to provide a firm foundation for Scholars to build professional and personal values, work ethic, and perspective that furthers the mission of Church Health to care for one another in the Memphis community.

  • Ideal Applicants: Individuals actively preparing for medical school or further study in various healthcare fields such as medical school, public health, physician assistant, health administration, nursing, physical therapy, and more.
  • Yearly Tentative Timeline:

    November 1: Application Open
    February 11: Priority application deadline
    March 18: Application extended deadline
    April 22: Candidate notifications begin

    Varies by position, but most scholars will be hired in the spring

  • Open positions and information can be found here.
A group of women in red jackets taking a Gap Year photo.
City Year Coaches

City Year Memphis partners with Shelby County Schools, Frayser Community Schools, and Believe Memphis Academy in “creating equitable learning opportunities for all students and developing the city’s future leaders.” This gap year program works to support teachers and staff through instruction that is specific to the racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity in Memphis. City Year AmeriCorps members serve as student success coaches, helping students build on their strengths and cultivate social, emotional and academic skills that are important in school and life. Participants engage with students and their families in order to help the schools prepare students for success in “learning, leadership, and life.” 

  • Ideal Applicant: Individuals who prefer a team environment and desire to make a difference by serving youth in their community
  • Application Deadlines:

Currently accepting applications on a rolling basis through summer 2023. 

  • The application details and link can be found here.
A group of people on a gap year posing for a photo on stage.
Downline Emerging Leaders

The Downline Memphis Emerging Leaders program is a nine month program that trains believers in biblical understanding and discipleship as well as biblical manhood/womanhood. Participants find jobs in Memphis in various fields while they are enrolled in the program, and they serve Memphis in multiple ways.

  • Ideal Applicant: Individuals who wants to learn more about the Bible, follow Christ, and make disciples
  • 2024-2025 Application Deadlines: Rolling admission
  • Application can be found here.
A group of people wearing masks posing in front of a white board during their gap year.
Tennessee Impact

The mission of Impact Tennessee is to “engage students and recent college graduates to address community needs, empowering a generation through collaborative efforts to promote change in the communities we serve”. This full-scale program and team in Memphis is serving the city in ways that help conquer issues around poverty and alter statistics of the city’s most vulnerable population, our kids. The team connects with and serves community leaders, pre-schoolers,  college students, single mothers, and more in order to to help children reach their full potential.

  • Ideal Applicant: Recent college graduates who want to learn how to make a substantial difference in their communities
  • 2024-2025 Application Deadlines: Rolling admission
  • Application can be found here.
A group of people on a gap year posing for a picture in a blue room.
Project Transformation

The mission of Project Transformation is to “transform communities by engaging children, college-age young adults, and churches in purposeful relationships”. This gap year program strives to build meaningful relationships between children, college students, and churches. Participants live in intentional Christian community, lead summer and afterschool programs for children, and build relationships with church and nonprofit leaders in order to gain exposure to various ministry-related vocations.  

  • Ideal Applicant: Individuals who desire to serve God and their community, are comfortable around new people and experiences, want to harness their skills, and have hope for a better world.
  • 2024-2025 Application Deadlines: Open Now! Rolling deadlines depending on program
  • Application and additional information can be found here
A group of people posing for a Gap Year photo on a roof.
SOS Memphis

The SOS Academy is “a paid Christian Community Development residency in Memphis, TN, designed for recent graduates & young professionals who have a concern for those who are marginalized. It equips young adults to inhabit underserved communities with a Gospel-driven lifestyle of justice and compassion toward their neighbors”. This gap year program includes an internship with a partner ministry or organization of SOS, theological and ministry training, housing in Binghampton, and exposure to Christian families and mentors. 

  • Ideal Applicant: Individuals who desire to serve God and their community, are comfortable around new people and experiences, want to harness their skills, and have hope for a better world.
  • 2024-2025 Application Deadlines: Now live! Rolling admission
  • Application and additional information can be found here

Longer Term Commitments

Memphis Teacher Residency

Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR) is a faith-based nonprofit organization that offers an unmatched opportunity for those who aspire to make quality education available to all Memphis students regardless of their zip code. MTR’s mission is Christian love expressed in equal education, and it is realized in 34 under-served partner schools located in five Memphis neighborhoods where the education gap is greatest. 

  • Ideal Applicant: College graduates or undergraduates looking to make a difference and believe high-quality education is a right for ALL children, regardless of their zip code.
  • Application Deadlines: MTR Class of 2024 applications are open NOW!
    • Fall Applications Due: November 12, 2023
    • Spring Selection Applications Due: March 3, 2024
  • Application and additional information can be found here

Memphis Fellows

Two women sitting at a table with plates of food.
Memphis Fellows

The goal of the Memphis Fellows Program is provide recent college graduates with the tools they need for their personal, professional, and spiritual growth beyond college. Fellows are equipped to become responsible, confident, Godly men and women who are prepared to take on adulthood. They are given a path to become invested in their city and take part in bringing fullness to it. They are given the chance to have a deep connection to a local church, to local business and industry leaders, and to one another

  • Ideal Applicant: Recent College graduates who desire to grow personally professionally and spiritually while serving God and their community.
  • 2024-2025 Application Deadlines: Open Now! Rolling deadline
  • Application and Additional Information



A teacher in a classroom with TFA Alumni sitting on the floor.

Present in more than 50 communities across the U.S., Teach for America works to provide equal opportunities for all students. TFA’s diverse corps members work in low income communities where they fight against education inequality, while being employed by local schools. Teach for America Memphis has been continuously named by the Tennessee State Report card as one of the top teacher preparation programs and one of the only to do so for nine years in the row. TFA Memphis takes up Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision to provide equal education for children. 

  • Ideal Applicant: A college graduate  looking for a career change, looking to gain perspective, grow as a leader, and shape the futures.  
  • Application Deadlines:
    • Oct. 30 2023 
  • Interview Decision By: Nov. 8, 2023
  • Application and additional information can be found here

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