City of Memphis, DA’s Office and Memphis Grizzlies Partner for Mentoring Program

Posted by Eric Bleier on October 03, 2012

In partnership with the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office and the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, the City of Memphis will launch the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative Wednesday, October 3rd at 2:30 p.m. in front of City Hall.

As part of the new mentoring initiative, City employees will be encouraged to serve as mentors to area youth, either through the District Attorney’s Mentoring Program or with Grizzlies Mentoring Alliance member programs.

“There are goals we work toward every single day – making sure our children finish high school and go to college, keeping kids away from guns and illegal activity, breaking the chains of intergenerational poverty – and mentors increase our chances of success with each and every one of those goals,” said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. “We must tap into this city’s greatest asset: the people who live and give here. And we’re starting with our own employees.”

City divisions and departments will be urged to approve flextime to allow employees to serve as mentors during traditional work hours. City employees who sign up for the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative will also be routinely recognized by the Mayor’s Office and the City of Memphis Division of Human Resources.

By partnering with both the District Attorney’s Office and the Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, the City hopes to provide employees with a broad range of experiences to choose from.

The District Attorney’s Mentoring Program offers an alternative to court proceedings for youth who are habitually truant. The youth essentially enter into a Court Order in which they agree to be matched with a designated mentor instead of facing prosecution.

“My office could handle truancy cases like every other crime. However, we see an opportunity in these situations to not only enforce the law but also enrich the life of a young person,” said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich. “For a minimum investment of time, the City of Memphis employees can make an immeasurable difference in a young person’s life.”

The D.A.’s program works exclusively with middle school students, and each mentor is asked to interact with their student for at least eight hours each month.

“In many instances, our children just need to hear an encouraging word or someone to explain it with a different point of view. That is mentoring,” said Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins.

The Grizzlies Mentoring Alliance includes local mentoring programs Girls, Inc., Memphis Athletic Ministries, Memphis PREP Program, Memphis City Schools’ CONNECT Mentoring, New Ballet Ensemble & School, and Youth Villages, among others. After filling out a Grizzlies TEAM UP Interest Form detailing their interests and availability, volunteers are paired with the organization that best suits them. Grizzlies’ partners serve kids ages 10-18 and offer one-on-one, group, and team mentoring opportunities in community- and site-based settings.

“Dozens of opportunities to mentor are found within our trusted Grizzlies Mentoring Alliance member programs. We’ll match City employees with these programs based upon their interests and availability and work with our partners to ensure they have the training and support to start mentoring,” said Jenny Koltnow, executive director of the Grizzlies Foundation. “We hope to see this initiative connect more young people with mentors and inspire individuals and organizations throughout the city to get involved with youth mentoring.”

The official launch will be held Wednesday, October 3rd, at 2:30 p.m. outside of City Hall. During the event, employees will learn about the many programs and will hear from current volunteer mentors and students. The media is invited to attend.

Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2012-13 Season Tickets, 10 and 20-Game Packs or the all new 10-Game Flex Pack can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to Tickets for the Plaza IV and Terrace IV sections are already sold out.

For more information on the Grizzlies Foundation, please visit, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter GrizzliesTEAMUP @memgrizz).


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The Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation is committed to serving Memphis youth through education and mentoring.