MEET OUR STAFF
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Ike Griffith, Ed.S.
Special Assistant to the Mayor and Director of MOYS

Ike Griffith serves as the Special Assistant to Mayor Jim Strickland and the Director of the Memphis Office of Youth Services where he is responsible for the oversight of all youth programming for the City of Memphis. Director Griffith responsibilities also include the development, implementation and evaluation of the city’s two primary youth programs; the Memphis Ambassadors Program (MAP) the city’s year round youth program, the MPLOY Summer Youth Employment Program, the city’s six week summer experience, and the Memphis Youth City Council which is  a youth member council that serves to represent youth interest in the City of Memphis government by serving as an advisory board to the Mayor and the Memphis City Council. Its’ purpose is to engage Memphis Youth in the political process and create leaders for the future. Managing a 3.5 million budget, Director Griffith assures quality programming is provided for over 1,500 program participants annually. This includes, but not limited to working with parents, program participants, community members, businesses and governmental representatives.

Director Griffith earned a B.A. in Mass Communications and Journalism from the University of Mississippi, a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Union University and an Education Specialist Degree in Education Leadership also from Union University. He has been an instructor with Memphis City and Shelby County Schools for 20 years, board member for the State of Tennessee Selective Service Administration, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative 2018 participant, member of the Shelby County Democratic Party, member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and former member of the Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commission.

 
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Denita Hedgeman, D.Min.

Event Coordinator/ Executive Assistant to the Director 

 

Denita has served in various areas of MOYS such as MPLOY Job Developer, Special Events Coordinator, MAP Zone Supervisor, MAP Lead Youth Specialist and Program Specialist. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Advertising, a Masters in Religious Fine Arts and a Doctor of Ministry in Religious Dance.  She was recently the Director of Career Services at LeMoyne-Owen College and is currently an author, motivational speaker, choreographer and certified Zumba instructor.  She loves inspiring people to find their life purpose.

Marquis Robinson

Memphis Ambassadors Program Manager

 

Marquis received his Bachelor of Professional Studies degree from the University of Memphis with a concentration in Non-Profit Administration. Marquis enjoys the unique flavor of Memphis culture, especially when giving back to the Memphis community through his role at MOYS. Marquis is a hard-working student; as a non-traditional student, he had a different perspective on his college courses than his peers, but still relishes in the camaraderie of fandom for the Memphis Tigers. Marquis is inspired by the New England Patriots because of how the former underdogs worked hard to earn their success, relying on one another and cultivating a team-centric mindset.

Mary Higgins Brooks

MAP Support Coordinator

 

Mary has served in various capacities at MOYS since 2012, including Community Organizer, Senior Internship Coordinator for MAP, and Accounts Payable Representative. She enjoys the opportunity to engage with youth and enhance their livelihoods throughout Shelby County. According to Mary, the most rewarding piece of her work is the opportunity to collaborate around MOYS programming and bridge the gap for organizing community involvement. Mary attended Melrose High school in Memphis, TN, Lambuth College in Jackson, TN, and also spent time living in Dallas, TX. In her free time, Mary loves watching football (especially the Dallas Cowboys!), as well as bowling, traveling, and spending time with her family and grandchildren.

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Donna Dancy

MPLOY Program Manager

 

Donna received her B.A., in psychology, from Hampton University and a Master of Social Work from Howard University, with a focus on child/family welfare and mental health. Her background consists of working with foster/adoptive children and families, on a local and national level. She has worked with the US Agency for International Development, US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Office of Refugee Resettlement. Donna is a licensed social worker in the state of Tennessee and a very active volunteer in the Memphis and Shelby County community, through her church and sorority. She volunteers in her free time with the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation and a local homeless shelter. Donna’s work with children is driven by the quote,

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men…. “

~Frederick Douglass

Daphne Evans

MPLOY Senior Program Analyst

 

Daphne Jones Evans is a Memphis Native, a proud graduate of Hamilton High School and The University of Tennessee at Martin where she graduated with a degree in Social Work.  Daphne is a former flight attendant with Delta Airlines. She has also served as a substitute teacher and financial secretary in the Memphis City School system, where she worked with teens during school activities such as the Girls Softball coach at Ridgeway High/ Northside High and assisted at several High School Football and Basketball game activities.

As you can tell, Daphne loves working with teens.  As a mother of two herself, Daphne knows her job is making a difference in helping mold the future of Memphis.  She realizes the youth that come through the MPLOY program will eventually be the adults that  make the decisions for  Memphis that will make people want to visit or better yet to live in.

Joy Lang-Stone

MPLOY Data Analyst

 

Joy graduated from Kingsbury High School, and is currently studying International Business at the University of Memphis. In her position, Joy interacts with all the people who come through MOYS. Joy believes that the citizens of Memphis are good people from all different cultural backgrounds. She enjoys reading, and studying diverse cultures and languages. Her all-time favorite movie is Forrest Gump, because the character Forrest is an overcomer who learns to navigate the challenges and events in society.

Candy Munn

MPLOY Job Developer

A Memphis native, Candy Munn is currently working towards her Master of Business Administration – Marketing/Social Media Management, as well as studying for her Real Estate license. She is the creator of ‘Keeping Up With Candy’, a blog focused on fashion and travel. She also co-hosts ‘Sunday Mornings With Brother Love’, a local relationship call-in radio show. Her passions include reading, international travel, helping others, planning, and mixology.

Candy believes Memphis is one of the greatest U. S. cities with so much room for improvements. She feels each generation of youth will ALWAYS be the key to Memphis’ future – acting on these improvements, making it a better place for themselves and the next generations. She believes that “we must reach our youth while they are young and show them we care, provide them with love and hope, instill in them that they matter, give them the tools necessary to succeed, let them know manners and morals go a long way, and impress upon them that no matter their present situation, THEY can change it, if necessary, through desire, determination, education, hard work, and helping hands along the way.”

Candy said, “this is why I feel MPLOY is such a precious and valuable program. It gives students hope and a sense of self-worth, teaches them about work ethics, money management, and getting along with others, and gives them training and experience in areas that interests them. Thanks to MPLOY and our business partners, our youth experience self-pride and self-esteem, which is a first for many. And because of this, I am proud and honored to be a part of the MPLOY staff as a Job Developer.”

Seria Ross

MPLOY Program Specialist

Seria received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Memphis. Born and raised in the Bluff City, Seria has seen the good and bad that the city has overcome or prospered from. Memphis has so many things to offer, from churches on every corner to some of the best BBQ in the country. This city shines bright in its own light. Memphis gives the feel of family with so many different cultures being present and meshing together for the common goal of an onward and upward, thriving city. At MOYS, Seria lauds her work family as one of the best she has ever encountered, with unique personalities coming together daily for one goal in mind: the betterment of the youth in the City of Memphis. According to Seria, what she enjoys most about her role at MOYS is being a mentor to so many youth throughout the City of Memphis, and also making connections with the parents of the youth, seeing their faces light up regarding information about post-secondary opportunities for their child to follow. For Seria, it is truly a blessing to stand behind MOYS’s mantra everyday—“Empowering Our Youth for Positive Results.”

Serita Crawford

MPLOY Project Coordinator 

Serita was born and raised in Chicago Heights, Illinois. She is a single mother to three (now grown) children. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Dance, and an Associate’s degree in Psychology. After college, she worked on a task force for the Joliet Public Schools, and coached the 8th grade girls’ basketball team as well as cross country. She moved to Memphis in December of 1999, and began working as a substitute teacher at Frayser High School in Memphis City Schools in February of 2000. Continuing her work in Shelby County Schools, Serita is confident that her career started the day she walked into Frayser High School with a Substitute ID card in hand. She introduced herself to the Assistant Principal, made it known that she was willing and able to begin work as a Substitute Teacher, left her first day of work with an assignment, and stayed a Ram for 13 years. Ironically, the Ram is also Serita’s zodiac sign, and she felt at home. Serita is excited to offer her talents as a Youth Specialist at MOYS, doing her best work, leading young men and women into society with purposefulness, and helping them become Ambassadors for themselves, their parents, and the City of Memphis.

Marshall Dezell

MPLOY Job Developer

Marshall received his degree in Graphic Communications from Mississippi Valley State University before relocating to Memphis from Indianola, Mississippi. Marshall retired from his position teaching Digital Arts and Design for Shelby County Schools before joining the team at MOYS. As a Youth Specialist, Marshall appreciates the opportunity for active involvement with students in the community. In addition, Marshall gives back to the community by giving blood to help children with sickle cell diseases. In Memphis, Marshall enjoys the excitement from the diverse people and the culture of blues. In his free time, Marshall loves reading, weight lifting, and traveling.

Melba “Diann” Chester

MPLOY Job Developer

 

Melba is originally from Millington, TN. and received her B.S. degree in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. Melba also has an A.A.S. degree in Paralegal Studies from Southwest Tennessee Community College.

After working several years as an international flight attendant, she was hired by FedEx. Initially in Customer Service, then working her way into management and subsequently retiring as a Senior Manager responsible for the leadership of eight managers and 136 hourly employees.

After retiring, Melba became a substitute teacher which allowed her to pursue her passion of being a positive influence for young people. She was recently proud to become a Job Developer with MPLOY, after several years as a Youth Specialist with the college group.

Melba’s focus is to now utilize her past expertise and build on the strength of this exceptional team to be effective in the growth and development of our Memphis youth.

Angela Brown

MPLOY Job Developer

 

Graduated from Melrose High School (Golden Wildcats). I received my B.S. in Organizational Leadership & Management with honors (magna cum-laude) from Union University. I served in many capacities during the years but to name a few, life insurance agent writing for various agencies, substitute teacher with Shelby County Schools, and personnel assistant in Recruitment before moving to properties & facilities assistant handling contracts & leases at FedEx Express.

My hopes are that the youth of Memphis will be taught, shown and exemplify how to be the best version of themselves and to represent Memphis with great pride in business, life and community!

Nadia Givens

MAP Lead Job Developer 

 

Memphis native Nadia Givens is a recent graduate of the University Of Memphis where she received a bachelors in the Professional Studies of Human Health Services. She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Arts Counseling program at Colorado Christian University, projected to receive her Masters in 2023. Nadia has a passion for Youth that extends far beyond the work she does for the Memphis Ambassadors Program. Her work with the city’s youth resonates in her dedication and commitment to the young leaders she works to encourage and inspire. She is also a Minister at her home church here in Memphis, which gives her another avenue to serve the upcoming generation of leaders in Memphis .

Taylor Hall

MAP Lead Job Developer 

 

Taylor is a proud graduate of Briarcrest Christian High School. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of Memphis. She enjoys giving back to her community and has worked at multiple SCS summer camps over the last few years. As a Youth Specialist, Taylor enjoys teaching her ambassadors life skills and helping them grow not only as students but as young adults. We provide them with a set of skills to navigate through life easier. Then they are able to apply these skills whether it is at school, at home or out in their own communities. Taylor knows that Memphis is a growing city full of youth that want to succeed and it is our job to uplift their voices and help them excel in every aspect of their lives.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

Lametria Gillespie

MAP Data Analyst

Born and raised in the inner city of Memphis, Tennessee Lametria has inherited a passion for organized growth and process improvement. Through the years she’s gained business etiquette, quality operations, leadership, and hospitality skill sets to align with those passions from the University of Memphis as an International Business student focused primarily within the medical device supply chain sector.

 

In her personal life, she serves as a bonus mom to several children where striving to instill and build core values are the key focal points and has proven that leading by example is the ultimate staple.

 

Making a difference and being happy to engage directly with our Youths has quickly brought those passions and forefront’s to life as the key way to keep them thriving. Instilling profound life skills in our future leaders is a foundational base and pathway that cannot be ignored while servicing the City of Memphis.

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erica lewis

MAP Data Analyst

 

My name is Erica Cofield-Lewis and I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I graduated Spring 2016 from Christian Brothers University with my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. I am a wife and mother who loves to spend time going on new adventures with my family and seeing the smiles on their faces. Before working at MOYS, I was a Case Manager for a nonprofit. My heart is always about helping others and my community. As a Data Specialist at MOYS I serve a more behind the scenes role but I am still very passionate about what it is that we all do to ensure the young people in our community have the resources they need to be successful.

Angela Meeks

MAP Data Analyst

 

My name is Angela Meeks and I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I am a graduate of THE Central High School. I also have a degree in Medical Office Technology which was obtained at Southwest Community College. I am in the process of pursing a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources at Bethel University. At home I wear many hats; wife, mother, nana and daughter who absolutely loves to spend as much time with my family as possible, mostly cooking and just making as many memories as possible. Before accepting the position at MOYS, I worked at First Horizon Bank, my last position being an Administrator in the Human Resource Department. I have worked with the youth in my church for many years and just believe with structure and the right guidance, our youth can be ANYTHING they put their minds to. I am excited about the opportunity to work with the MOYS

Renita Lemons

MAP Lead Job Developer

 

My name is Renita Lemons a Memphis native, former Urban Fellows and Youth Specialist (Memphis Office of Youth Services). Graduate from The University of Memphis with a GPA of 3.5 in Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Human Resources, Social Sciences and Counseling (Youth and Young Adults) from The University of Memphis; University College. I am a mother who loves seeing my baby grow and smile. Before working at MAP, I worked with youth in church and community activities, BRIDGES, USA as an Event Planner Intern, Youth Villages as a Senior Overnight Teacher Counselor, La Petite Academy as a Team Lead, an Education Assistant at The University of Memphis; Campus School. Most importantly, I worked with The Office of Youth Services, and helped found the MAP 8THGrade program in 2018. I am passionate about the youth in aspects of education and development. 

 

-In the words of my Grandmother, “Look Up and Live”. 

Sandi-Marie Sadler

MAP Youth Specialist

 

Sandi-Marie Sadler is a native Memphian and a proud graduate of Memphis Academy of Health Sciences. Sandi-Marie attended the historic Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas where she received her degree in Psychology. During her time at Philander Smith, Sandi-Marie was a part of the Psychology club, Spanish club, and the Panther Dolls Cheer/Dance Team where she served as the captain all four years. Sandi-Marie has a passion with helping the youth transition from childhood into adulthood while helping them seek their greater purpose and passion. She has worked with youth for six years through summer camps and specialized treatment programs. She believes that we may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can and we must prepare our children for the future.

Keenan Norman

MAP Youth Specialist 

 

Keenan Norman is a proud and native Memphian. He is a graduate of White Station High School, and currently pursuing a degree in education. He is the son of Keith and Alicia Norman. He loves working with kids of all ages and hopes to keep working with The Memphis Office Of Youth Services for years to come.

Randi Fason

MAP Youth Specialist 

 

Randi was born and raised in Memphis TN. She graduated from Southwind High School and is  currently in pursuit of her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work at the University of Memphis. Randi  has had the opportunity to work with Communities in Schools and Refugee Empowerment Program Organizations. She has always had a passion for working with youth of all ages. 

Ashley Chapman 

MAP Youth Specialist 

 

Ashley was born in Cheraw, SC. She was raised as a military child and was exposed to different cultures. Ashley is a Child Development and Family Studies major at University of Memphis and has the opportunity to work with military families in D.O.D Child Youth Services. Ashley has a passion for working with and empowering youth.

DeVone Gainey

MAP Youth Specialist 

 

DeVone is a native of Southeast Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina and a Graduate of North Carolina A&T State University where she received her Bachelors of Science degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Multimedia Journalism. Because of her gifts and passion for community relations with the youth, DeVone has continued her work and studies in education through teaching middle school and highschool students in providence, RI, working as a behavioral analyst in Raleigh, NC and sports and exercise coach through the Memphis Grizzly Basketball Foundation in the state of Memphis, TN.  DeVone is most excited about growing and networking in the city of Memphis as she prides herself on maintaining a growth mindset through every obstacle and learning opportunity. Her Goal is to someday open and establish her own youth sports living facility. 

Kimmie Webb

MAP Youth Specialist 

 

Kimmie Webb was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2010 from the University of Phoenix. She moved to Memphis in September 2020 after becoming an empty nester once the last of her two daughters headed to college. She has worked in the Juvenile Justice System as well as Child Protective Services for Clark County of Nevada for multiple years. To continue pouring into the lives of youth she volunteered as a Truancy Judge within the Clark County School District for three years. These areas of services have offered her years of experience mentoring, teaching, and coaching the youth of Las Vegas. She has brought her passion into Shelby County to continue working with youth through M.A.P. She started and operated a youth girl’s Majorette Dance Team, which has been featured on the hit TV show America’s Got Talent. Kimmie founded and ran a successful youth volleyball team through the local community center. Her passion for the youth and the direction of their futures is of high importance. While reaching and changing each youth is the goal successfully doing that with at least one is a huge accomplishment. Currently working with M.A.P. she looks forward to being an invaluable member of the team paying it forward one youth at a time.

Brandon Porter 

MAP Youth Specialist 

 

Brandon is a born and raised Memphian. He is a proud alum of the University of Memphis, and he also has a master’s degree from Liberty University. Before working for the Office of Youth Services, he worked for the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis where he worked as a fundraiser, social media manager, and vocational rehab job coach. Brandon loves Memphis and is blessed to work for an office that works for the betterment of our city’s next generation. He lives with his wife and two dogs in the Shelby Farms area, and spends most of his free time reading, exploring the outdoors, and supporting Memphis sports’ teams. Go Tigers Go!

Marcus Coleman

MAP Youth Specialist 

 

Marcus is a native memphian, I had the opportunity to work as a assistant director of Camp Porter for 12 years ago, I work well with kids all ages. I also have volunteer at scs school and fcp school. I am so excited about the new opportunity to engage with the Memphis ambassadors program to work with the youth. 

Joneshia Moore

MAP 8th Grade Apprentice Youth Specialist

Joneshia, a Memphis Native, graduated from Overton High School in Spring 2017 and attended the University of Memphis in Fall 2017 where she majored in Accounting. Though she had a 3.8 GPA at the end of her first college semester, she dropped out and decided to seek success in the workforce rather than college because she was already smart, a great communicator, and willing to learn any new skills. Her dream came true when she was hired to be a Receptionist at the Boys and Girls Club Technical Training Center after she participated in their 2018 MPLOY Youth Summer Experience. There, she improved her communication skills as she greeted people daily. She even encouraged them from the kindness of her heart and gained new skills such as data entry and her favorite one: organization. Being a Receptionist at the Boys and Girls Club Technical Training Center, boosted Joneshia’s self-confidence especially when she encouraged others which made her want to mentor preferably youth, more directly. This desire is why Joneshia decided to work for MOYS as a Youth Specialist. She wants to ensure youth are positively mentored because they are the future. 

GYRA DELONEY

MAP 8th Grade Apprentice Youth Specialist

Gyra Alexander Deloney is a native of Mississippi, but has spent the last 28 years as an Illinois resident. She graduated from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Management. She served on the management team at YRC and USF Logistics in many capacities acquiring skills in Human Resource, Capital Management, Team Building, Strategic Planning, Project Based Efficiency and Financial Stability.

After many years in the business entity, she pursued her passion of working with youth in the Education Arena and Community Service. She has over 10 years of experience working with youth programs as a volunteer, serving in the church, community youth sports, long- term substitute teacher for Joliet Public School District 86 and District Community Council Member of Joliet Public School District 86.

Gyra believes in serving others, so that they can be of services to the community in which they serve. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the services of others.” Mahatma Gandhi

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