Dear Friends,

It’s amazing how fast the first-term has flown by and here we are starting a second-term under the leadership of Mayor Jim Strickland keeping the momentum of Memphis in motion. I want to thank my wonderful staff for their continuous endless work under my leadership. In addition, I would like to thank Mayor Jim Strickland, for being a strong and true advocate for empowering our youth to reach their full potential.

We at the Memphis Office of Youth Services (MOYS) are dedicated and committed to shaping our young people to be productive individuals in society by providing opportunities for their success. We know this work will always be a challenge; however, we’re up for the task because our reason for starting this is too strong to stop. My staff and I need the continuous support of businesses, the faith-based communities and most of all parents, to assist us with the development of our youth.

Over the last year, we have added to our accomplishments to continue to empower our youth for positive results. During our registration period in the month of December 2018, there were 10,000 youth that registered for our summer programs (MPLOY and MAP) and December 2019 there were 9,200 youth. The summer of 2019, we were budgeted to provide 1,750 youth with summer employment. The summer of 2020 is slated to provide 2,000 youth with summer employment. Having thousands of youth without the opportunity to work during the summer, the Memphis Office of Youth Services created the “JOY” initiative. “JOY” (Just One Youth) is a call to action asking every concerned citizen, business and faith-based community to donate $20.00 (twenty dollars) or more to provide additional employment opportunities for Memphis Youth during the summer of 2020. We all must understand that this work can’t be a burden on City Government alone. We all must get involved and if we don’t support our youth, who will?

Now, I would like to share several of our accomplishments from 2019 with you, our supporters, stakeholders, business partners, and the citizens of the City of Memphis:

Memphis Office of Youth Services (MOYS)

  • The Memphis Office of Youth Services (MOYS) has implemented a pilot program to embrace our special needs students called “I AM INCLUDED” within the MAP Program. Twenty deaf and hard of hearing students from Shelby County Schools (SCS) and the Tennessee School for the Deaf (TSD) are now a part of the MAP structure. These students will also have to opportunity to work during the summer and participate in internships. We want to establish a structure for all students to become independent despite abilities or special needs. In the near future, we will also be implementing other special needs programs.

  • MOYS held its First Annual Golf Classic at Galloway Golf Course in August and it was a great success. There were several businesses that sponsored this event with eighteen teams in participation. Proceeds went towards the Memphis Office of Youth Services’ activities such as “Boxing at the Pipkin”, “Memphis Youth Got Talent”, “I AM INCLUDED” and other activities established by the Memphis Office of Youth Services. This will be an annual event.

  • MOYS is now a part of the festivities, in addition to the College Career Fair, of the Southern Heritage Classic weekend. “BRINGING IT TO THE BLUFF” Dance Showcase will now be an event for our youth during the classic festivities. A special thanks to Ladia Yates and the LYE Academy and Neva McGruder Burke and the Divas of Olive Branch for making this event possible.

  • MOYS has established “Hospitality Memphis Style” a partnership with Southwest Community College to give students a summer experience in hospitality. Students will work in hotels and restaurants while learning more about hospitality from Southwest Community College.

  • As a result of “Memphis Youth Got Talent” and “Bringing It To The Bluff” Dance Showcase, MOYS raised 1,253 lbs. in food donations which is equivalent to 1,066 meals for the fiscal year of 2018. In 2019, 1,537 lbs. were donated which is equivalent to 1,844.40 meals.

  • MOYS held Mayor Jim Strickland’s Third Annual Memphis Youth Got Talent Finale Competition, where youth ages 14-21 competed in a talent competition for a first prize of $1,200, second place prize of $700, and a third-place prize of $450. The event was sponsored by The Enlightment Center, Olympic Staffing and Memphis Urban League.

  • MOYS hosted the 2nd Annual Business Appreciation Reception to honor our business partners, stakeholders, and service providers at the Pink Palace Museum.

Memphis Ambassadors Program (MAP)

  • For the fiscal year of 2018 -2019, MAP donated 896 school supplies to low income schools throughout the City of Memphis. Currently for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, MAP has topped last year’s number with a total of 2,263 school supplies.

  • During the Winter Coat Drive, MAP donated a total of 1,492 coats, hats, scarfs and more to local establishments such as day cares and schools.

  • A total of 203 jars of peanut butter were donated to numerous food banks in Memphis for the 2018-2019 school year. That number has doubled for the 2019-2020 school year with a total of 482 jars of peanut butter.

  • MAP organized and delivered over 11,000 donations in snack bars, fruit cups, socks, and water to the Memphis Union Mission a men’s only homeless shelter and to Lester Community Center.

  • With the help of Hilton and One Mouth at a Time, MAP was able to accumulate 3,540 garbage bags that were tied together to create mats for the homeless.

  • Every month parents and ambassadors donate their time to different establishments, food banks or community clean-ups that welcome volunteers to help meet a need. For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, parents and ambassadors donated 6,807 hours of their time and completed 3,404 community service projects. Currently, they have completed a total of 3,888 hours and 1,944 service projects. These numbers will only increase from here.

  • MAP has partnered with Mentoring Youth Through Technology to implement an afterschool program called “Young Innovators Club”. This program is designed to give participants a hands-on approach to science, technology, engineering and mathematics through various projects that will encourage innovation. They will be working on developing new ideas and applications, as well as creating autonomous Robots, Solar Power, Electronics, Drone, Games Development, etc.

  • MAP has partnered with Project STAND at Carver High School to provide students that have gone through the juvenile court system the same opportunities as their peers. Project STAND was implemented to reduce recidivism in Memphis, TN as well as offer college and career readiness services. The goal of MAP is to be intentionally inclusive to all youth regardless of their situation or circumstances by extending their resources in providing a better future for these students.

  • MAP has extended their program to include students that are from the Compass Intervention Center, a facility that treats children and teens struggling with behavioral issues. Compass is comprised of students from various backgrounds

MPLOY Youth Summer Experience 

  • MPLOY hosted the Third Youth Excellence Awards Ceremony at the Cannon Center to recognize students of the MPLOY Summer Youth Experience for their outstanding performance.

  • MPLOY’s “Youth About Change Teen Summit” is an annual event that gives participants a platform to discuss and present their research, findings, and recommendations as it pertains to their well-being in the city of Memphis. This event is youth lead and operated. Our 2019 Summit included over 400+ students and parents attending the event. Our keynote speaker was Social Justice Activist D’Angelo McDade of Chicago, Illinois. Mr. McDade is most known for his inspirational speech at the 2018 March for Our Lives Rally in Washington, DC, where over 200,000 people rallied together following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.


  • MPLOY’s “Emerging Film Festival” was designed to be a platform for young filmmakers in Memphis between the ages of 14-22 to express their creativity through film. This past year four MPLOY Filmmakers submitted their films to the Indie Memphis Youth Competition. Four films were selected as finalists in the festival. The Indie Memphis Film Festival is another outlet for students to showcase their talents.

As you can see, MOYS has been truly busy. None of these accomplishments could have been made possible without a great staff that supported my vision, and the generosity of our supporters, stakeholders, and business partners.

In closing, the Memphis Office of Youth Services will continue our mission that is so vital to this great city. We need your unwavering support and prayers as we advance the youth of this city to become responsible productive citizens.


Ike Griffith, Ed.S
Special Assistant to Mayor Jim Strickland
Director of the Memphis Office of Youth Services

315 S. HOLLYWOOD STREET   |   MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE 38104   |   PHONE: (901) 636-6264

© 2020 Copyright City Of Memphis, Office Of Youth Services - All Rights Reserved