News (and Blog) en Copyright 2014 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 Enchantment, Lights, Spectacle and More The holiday season presents the perfect time to experience amazing happenings in and around Memphis. There is an overwhelming amount of activity to enjoy, including countless parades, shows and events. As kids are out of school, it’s also the perfect time for mentors and mentees to gain some quality time. But with so many things to do, how can you narrow down the choices? Here are some of our favorite holiday activities. 1. A Christmas Carol, presented by Theatre Memphis What better way to bring in the holidays with the seminal Christmas classic? In this tale, Ebenezer Scrooge sees the true spirit of the holidays through visions of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come. Good thing Scrooge had some great mentors on his side to show him past his bitterness! Playing now through Dec. 23 at Theatre Memphis. Matinees are at 3 pm and evening showings are at 7 pm. Prices: adult - $30, student - $15, children 11 and under - $10. 2. Memphis Botanic Gardens Snowy Nights: Taking a walk down Playhouse Lane through themed lighting and a musical light show sets the tone for Snowy Nights, but that’s just a small portion of things to do. Groups can create icicle ornaments, complete scavenger hunts in the Snowflake Forest and much more. Even better, there are campfires on the patio for roasting s’mores. And if you forget your s’more kit, don’t worry: they’re available for purchase at the event. Running every night until Dec. 30 at the Memphis Botanic Gardens. Times are 5:30-8:30 pm, with last admission at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $7 for members and $10 for non-members. 3. Memphis Zoo Lights What better mentor and mentee activity than Memphis’ biggest lights display? Ride through the Zoo Lights on the tram, hang out with Santa in the Courtyard and witness the marvelous Magic Mr. Nick Illusion Show. There’s also a Ferris wheel and camel rides, plus ice skating! Running 5:30 – 9:30 pm every night from Dec. 19 – 30 at the Memphis Zoo. Tickets are $6 for members and $8 for non-members. Ferris wheel, camel rides and ice skating cost extra. 4. Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees: The annual Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees at the Pink Palace, benefiting Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, is a great destination for mentors and mentees. Visitors can stop by the Penguin Pals, explore the Gingerbread Village and much more. Plus, you know you’re helping a great cause. Visit on Dec. 19 until 9 pm to witness the forest sparkling at night. Running through Dec. 31 at the Pink Palace Museum. Hours are 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Saturday and noon – 5 pm on Sundays. Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.  5. Cirque Dreams Holidaze If you really want to reward your mentee, the Cirque Dreams Holidaze is the perfect Christmas gift. Blending classic Cirque du Soleil acrobatics, Broadway music and dance and a holiday theme, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is the perfect show for mentors and mentees who want a bit of spectacle with their theater. Performances are Dec. 26 and 27 at 8 pm at the Orpheum. Ticket prices range from $48.50 - $78.50. | December 18, 2014 Blog, 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 Nutrition, Stress Management and Physical Fitness? Oh my! Learning about exercise techniques and healthy eating sounds like the last way that a group of 7th and 8th graders would want to spend their after school time. Getting them involved and excited in the learning process sounds even harder. So, how can you get the students to embrace healthy living? By introducing the topics the TEAM way and showing the students how these concepts directly relate to their well-being. Over the last few weeks, TEAM mentor scholars learned about nutrition, stress management and physical activity through interactive presentations from the Church Health Center. As one in four Memphis-area students suffer from childhood obesity, the lessons struck a particular resonance with the students, including them in the national conversation about how to improve the health of our youth.  Lesson by lesson, volunteers from the Church Health Center involved the students by introducing concepts through collaborative demonstrations. The students conducted sugar experiments to discover just how much sugar is in that can of soda while learning the dangers of excessive soft drink consumption, such as obesity, attention problems and increased aggression. Physical fitness is particularly hard to get students excited about and very few meet the daily recommendation for activity as the latest data suggests. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, children and teenagers are supposed to engage in 60 minutes of exercise a day, but only 1 in 3 are reaching that minimum. Students often complain that there is not enough time for them to fit in a full hour of physical exercise every day. So, the Church Health Center showed the students exercises that can be completed anywhere and with friends, such as partner squats and agility drills. Other topics introduced to the scholars included stress triggers and effects, as well as a muscle relaxation technique to reduce stress, and how to measure accurate portion sizes to ensure they are eating correct and healthy amounts. Recent studies have shown that health and well-being are directly correlated with academic achievement — while organizers hope the lessons improve the scholars’ nutrition and physical fitness, the further hope is that it will improve their grades and mental fitness as well. The Grizzlies TEAM Mentor Program, presented by Duncan-Williams, is an after-school youth mentoring program for 7th and 8th grade students administered by the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation. Gender-based, 3 volunteer mentors are matched with 9 students to form each TEAM.  Operating at four local charter schools – Power Center Academy Middle, KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle, The Soulsville Charter School and Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School – students acquire 21st Century skill sets that position them for success in the modern economy. | December 18, 2014 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 Ties that bind, and words that transcend Each day young boys in grades 6-8 file into Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School located in downtown Memphis just blocks from FedEx Forum.  All scholars first attend Grizzlies Prep in their uniform wearing slacks, oxford shirts, cardigans, and sweater vests. The Grizzlies Prep tie, by contrast, is earned. The garment symbolizes commitment to the Grizzlies Prep mission and values and solidifies a scholar’s admission at Grizzlies Prep. Held during the fourth week of school, scholars earned their ties and what affectionately correlates as “their stripes” during the Grizzlies Prep Tie Ceremony.  The moment was one celebrated by faculty, staff, families and scholars in the beautiful sanctuary of Calvary Episcopal Church. “Earning a Grizzlies Prep tie signifies a scholar’s acceptance in our community.” Grizzlies Prep school director Elizabeth Simpson said.  “Once a scholar earns his tie, he wears it with pride because he knows it is an outward representation of what Grizzlies Prep, and by extension our staff, scholars, and families stand for: courage, commitment, grit, excellence, responsibility, and excellence.” Value Focuses: A Scholar’s Mentality Grizz Prep core values resonate from floor to floor; from classroom to classroom and are instilled daily. Through an extended school day, double blocks of Math and English Language Arts, time to independently read, and a choice of two electives, Grizzlies Prep provides scholars the tools and support they need to thrive both personally and academically. As young men progress each year, their instruction revolves around themes that build character. Teamwork and friendship are sixth grade focuses. Seventh graders learn about identity and community and the effect one has on the other. At the height of their matriculation at Grizz Prep, eighth grade themes center on self-reliance, manhood and power structures. 1 Million Words: A Scholar’s Window to Higher Standards Coupled with Grizz Prep value themes, every scholar has a goal to read 1 million words this school year. Studies show a correlation between number of words read in a year and overall academic ability. Students who read over 1,000,000 words per year land in the 80th percentile or higher on most standardized test measures. This exposure to a vast amount of words also increases vocabulary, improves comprehension and helps the brain focus. Reading helps students develop their imagination, discover new adventures and learn about the world around them. “Reading is fun to me because it takes me to a different world.” said Grizz Prepster and eighth-grader Tye Ficklen.  “Grizzlies Prep gives me a lot of time to read and has a good library full of books.” After just five weeks into the school year, Ficklen and seventh-grader Rodrick Wilson, are well on their way to reaching the mark and have already read over a half a million words. Wilson remarks of his accomplishment, “I never read a lot before I came to Grizzlies Prep, but we have rewards here that encourage me to read. Now reading is fun!” Grizzlies Prep was recently named a reward school ranking among the top 5% of charter schools in the state for performance. Building life-long learners and men of character, it is also one of only a few schools to consistently grow students an average of two grade levels per year making it a replicable model for success in boyhood. | September 23, 2014 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 2014-2015 TEAM Mentor Schedule The Grizzlies TEAM Mentor Program is expanding for the 2014-2015 school year. This is your one window of opportunity to join our TEAM! Mentors are matched on a single-gender “TEAM”, made of 3 volunteer mentors and 9 middle school scholars. Mentors will select a mentoring site and meet there for 90 minutes, once a week, for the duration of the school year (see below for schedule). Mentors will be provided with a pre-service training, interactive lesson plans, and weekly support from Grizzlies staff to ensure that the experience is positive for all participants. Mentors will also have the opportunity to join their TEAM on a few off-site field trips, including a game night experience at FedExForum. Interested in becoming a TEAM Mentor? Complete a TEAM Mentor Profile to begin the process. 2014-2015 TEAM Mentor Schedule Monday – 4:00-5:30pm – Freedom Preparatory Academy (7th grade)  Tuesday – 3:30-5:00pm – The Soulsville Charter School (7th and 8th grade) Tuesday – 3:30-5:00pm - Grizzlies Prep (7th grade male only) Wednesday – 3:45-5:15pm – KIPP Memphis (8th Grade) Thursday –3:30-5:00pm – Power Center Academy (7th and 8th grade) Questions or still need more information??? Call us at 205-TEAM, email us at, or join us at our Mentor Open House and Locker Room Tour. Click here to RSVP. | 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 Mentor. Be the Difference. TEAM UP with the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation to transform the lives of young people. The Memphis Grizzlies are deeply committed to youth mentoring as a key strategy to achieve our shared goals for all students in Memphis: success in college and life. The Grizzlies TEAM UP initiative has served as a channel to connect students to positive adult role models, further expanding opportunity for students in Memphis. And Mentoring Works! Studies have linked mentoring to improved academic, social and economic outcomes. The Grizzlies TEAM UP Initiative presented by Duncan-Williams is recruiting mentors for the 2014 – 2015 school year. TEAM UP with the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation to transform the lives of young people through mentoring. Take Action, Apply Now.   | 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 The Grizzlies TEAM Mentor Program is Expanding! In January 2011, the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation launched a pilot TEAM mentoring program with a mission to reach more youth, engage more volunteers, and foster retention among those volunteers. Three years later this program has grown to include 7th and 8th graders at Power Center Academy, KIPP Collegiate Middle School and The Soulsville Charter School. This year, we’re proud to announce, that we are expanding! Beginning fall 2014, the Grizzlies TEAM Mentor Program will introduce four new seventh grade mentoring “TEAMs” at both Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School and Freedom Preparatory Academy.  Each TEAM of (3) volunteer mentors and nine (9) students will meet for 60 minutes each week and participate in activities that correspond with a chosen theme and weekly objectives. Each mentoring session allows mentors and students to develop relationships with one another while providing students new skills and experiences. Educating young men in grades six to eight, Grizzlies Prep prepares all students to excel academically and demonstrate integrity. With the core values or Responsibility, Integrity, Courage, Commitment, Grit and Excellence, “Grizz Prep” staff teach students the meaning and importance of these values and how to exemplify them in their lives. Grizzlies Prep is located in downtown Memphis at 168 Jefferson Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. Freedom Preparatory Academy prepares students to excel in college and in life. With the mission of college preparation through a highly structured, academically rigorous environment, students master the core subjects, develop advanced academic skills and demonstrate the school’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Excellence, and Community. “Freedom Prep” is located in the Whitehaven Community at 5132 Jonetta Street in Memphis, Tennessee. To become a TEAM Mentor at Grizzlies Prep or Freedom Prep, sign up today. For more on the Grizzlies TEAM Mentor Program, please 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 Now Recruiting TEAM Mentors for 2014-15 We’re recruiting new mentors for the Grizzlies TEAM Mentoring program! The Grizzlies Foundation and our school partners will be expanding the number of TEAMs for the upcoming school year. Each TEAM matches 3 volunteer mentors with 9 middle school scholars. TEAMs meet at their selected school site for 90 minutes, once a week, for an entire school year. Mentors are provided lesson plans and supplies each week to help facilitate activities with their team. This is the only time of the year to sign up as a Grizzlies TEAM Mentor. Don’t miss your chance! Watch video to learn why some of our mentors love it and sign up now to get involved. You may also email us at with any questions. Sign up to be a Grizzlies TEAM Mentor. | Featured, 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 Beno Udrih visits Revolutions Memphis with Westhaven Elementary Revolution Memphis invited twelve 4th and 5th graders from Westhaven Elementary who have been going through a bike safety curriculum in PE, on bikes donated by Revolutions to the Shelby County Schools, out at the bike shop to learn about recycling old bikes into new bikes.  Beno Udrih came to help the kids learn about locating inner-tube holes and repairing bicycling wheels before taking the bikes for a spin through Cooper Young.  Beno also shared a personal story about bike safety, telling kids how he was learning to ride a bike, he didn’t listen to his father’s instructions and was thrown over the handlebars, which gave him a scar on his chin that he still has.  Beno reminded the students to always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Revolutions Memphis is dedicated to providing all Memphians—particularly the working poor of Memphis—with bicycles that function well and creating a place where people can acquire the tools and knowledge required to keep bicycles rolling, ultimately making a positive impact on the community one bicyclist at a time. | 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 National Mentoring Summit in DC Members of the Grizzlies Foundation will be attending MENTOR’s national summit this week and is one of the few opportunities for those engaged with mentoring to meet and discuss best practices. The summit begins with a special all day meeting Wednesday for programs engaged in the Quality Mentoring System (QMS) pilot program, of which the Grizzlies Foundation is an exclusive participant. This pilot program will provide the Grizzlies Foundation with assistance from Mass Mentors of Massachusetts, one of the first two programs to test QMS, guidance on improving mentoring programs with which the Grizzlies Foundation currently partners. Wednesday evening the summit starts in full swing with a banquet at the Library of Congress. Thursday the delegates get to work by attending a number of mentor-related workshops. Workshops for the summit include, but are not limited to the following: Effective Mentoring in the Age of Social Media Using Advocacy as a Means for Obtaining Funding and Partnerships Developing a Data Structure to Demonstrate Mentoring Impact The Toolkit for Inner City and Urban Youth Mentoring Match Making and Retention And many more! Special celebrity speakers at the summit include South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, NBC Meet the Press moderator David Gregory and baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. | January 27, 2014 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00 Presidential Proclamation—National Mentoring Month, 2014 In every corner of our Nation, mentors push our next generation to shape their ambitions, set a positive course, and achieve their boundless potential. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate everyone who teaches, inspires, and guides young Americans as they reach for their dreams. Mentors help children build confidence, gain knowledge, and develop the strength of character to succeed inside and outside of the classroom. They are relatives, teachers, coaches, ministers, and neighbors. Anyone can be a mentor, and every child should have the chance to be a mentee. Young people with mentors have better attendance in school, higher self-esteem, a greater chance of pursuing higher education, and a reduced risk of substance abuse. That is why my Administration is creating new opportunities to give back—from expanding national service, promoting responsible fatherhood, and challenging businesses to grow their mentoring activities, to First Lady Michelle Obama’s mentoring initiative, which pairs local high school girls with powerful role models. For more information on how to get involved in a mentoring program, visit America is at its best when we lift each other up, when we pursue our individual goals while never forgetting that we are bound as one Nation and as one people. If we carry this spirit forward, if we take responsibility for our future leaders and give them the tools to succeed, America’s best days will always lie ahead. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2014 as National Mentoring Month. I call upon public officials, business and community leaders, educators, and Americans across the country to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth. BARACK OBAMA | January 2, 2014 Blog, 2014-12-18T21:42:11+00:00