Building Together: City of Memphis Weekly Update

CityofMemphis Communications Mayor Paul Young

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Throughout my campaign, I spoke about the importance of engaging our youth, both to support positive behaviors and outcomes and to intervene earlier when kids were heading down the wrong paths. I said it repeatedly, but there is no higher priority when it comes to the future of our city. 

This week, our community had the opportunity to meet our new Youth Services Director, Brian Harris when he presented to the City Council Committee on his plans for strengthening our youth engagement strategies. Brian has already hit the ground running with meetings with our Memphis Parks department, Pastors and Community leaders, a parental group, hosting a public open house at the Memphis Office of Youth Services, and holding a Resolution-writing workshop for the Youth City Council which was guided by our Memphis City Council members Pearl Walker, Michalyn Easter-Thomas, Philip Spinosa, Jana Swearengen-Washington, and Yolanda Cooper-Sutton. 



Harris has also started redefining our youth-oriented programs to allow for greater diversity of those involved. An example of this broadening is our new approach for the Memphis Ambassador Program, a program that pays students a stipend for behaviors supporting positive outcomes. Previously, the program included only those students with a high GPA, however our new program drops the GPA requirement, opening the opportunity for all kids to start working on positive behaviors and skills. We expect the program will grow from 350 students per year to 800 students per year with the proper support. I especially appreciated hearing Councilwoman Pearl Walker’s support of the program as a parent of a former participant. 

Youth-involved crime is a frequent topic in my meetings with Chief Davis, DA Mulroy, and Judge Sugarmon as we discuss the measures and metrics we need to understand in order to combat crime in our city. This week we also welcomed Memphis City and Shelby County Schools interim superintendent Toni Williams to our discussions. I am excited about the energy and enthusiasm the district has for keeping our kids safe and on track. Williams shared with us that MCSC invested $17 million last year in a pilot program to upgrade safety technology in select schools, including investment in cameras, weapons detection, improved fencing, and additional personnel. This resulted in a 13% decrease in campus incidents. This year, they are expanding that reach, with an additional $37.6 million to roll out these upgrades to more schools. They are also taking a holistic approach to supporting students with Family Wellness Centers that provide resources and information on coping with violence and improving mental health. Williams also reminded us that across their 200 schools and 110,000 students, 90% of those kids demonstrate perfect conduct. 

That is a metric that bears repeating:  90% of our students demonstrate perfect conduct. 

I celebrate that fact and look to them and their peers to help us create the opportunity to take that number even closer to 100%. And with expanded efforts, programs, and community support, I believe we will see that number grow this year.


Other weekly updates: 

Our strike team had projects in 38117, 38128, 38104, and 38122. The crews picked up roadside trash, and helped with other litter issues.

Social spotlight: Our weekly recap

social spotlight

And from our partners at Memphis Tourism

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In partnership and progress, 

Mayor Paul Young

Paul A. Young