FAFSA Memphis Kickoff- Major Push to the Goal Line

Graduate Memphis’ theme is Start. Stay. Finish!

Students looking for help with post-secondary education costs can get a head-start on completing the essential Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at workshops located at Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on Sunday, October 1 and Saturday, October 7, 2017. The FAFSA Kickoff will consist of workshops for students and parents to complete their FAFSA, with a goal of getting the students to start college, and persist through degree completion.

Graduate Memphis and its community partners are doing their part to make sure graduating seniors and adult learners are aware of the opening of FAFSA on October 1 for the 2018-2019 academic year. “Completing the FAFSA is a critical first step in preparing for college enrollment. Graduate Memphis, along with our partners and volunteers are prepared to assist as many parents of graduating juniors and seniors as well as adults seeking to enroll in college with completing the FAFSA. The early submission of the financial aid application allows families to better plan financially for the upcoming academic year,” said Reneé McCreight, Senior Director of Graduate Memphis.

Upcoming FAFSA workshops include:

Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library – 3030 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111 Sunday, October 1, 2017

1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library – 3030 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111 Saturday October 7, 2017

1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Last year more than 7,000 Shelby County high school seniors completed the FAFSA. Graduate Memphis and partners are trying to make sure that eligible students and adult learners interested in enrolling in a technical/career, 2 year or 4 year college or university have the opportunity to ask questions and gain accurate information from knowledgeable, trained staff and volunteers.

For more information about the FAFSA Weekend and how you can get involved, contact Renee McCreight, Senior Director for Graduate Memphis at 901.415.2774 Or rmccreight@leadershipmemphis.org. Visit the website at www.FAFSAMemphis.com  Graduate Memphis is an action initiative of Leadership Memphis.

Leadership Memphis

Leadership Memphis is a non-profit, community leadership development organization. Its mission is to prepare and mobilize leaders to work together for the good of the whole

community. Founded in 1977 as the Memphis Institute of Public Responsibility, the organization has trained and graduated more than 2,500 leaders from its signature programs: Executive and FastTrack, Criminal/Juvenile Justice, and Grassroots. Its Action Initiatives include Graduate Memphis and Volunteer Memphis.

Count It! Lock It! Drop It! Adds New Communities to Program

Growth Sparked by BlueCross Health Foundation Grant


Count It! Lock It! Drop It! ™ (CLD), a comprehensive community program for prescription drug abuse prevention, has added 26 counties since its statewide launch last summer.

In June 2016, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation approved a grant to fund the program’s expansion to areas identified as “hot spots,” which are counties with high numbers of prescriptions dispensed, overdose deaths and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The program, now offered in 58 counties, suggests three simple steps that anyone can practice to keep their medications out of the wrong hands:


  • Count pills every two weeks to monitor theft and help ensure medications are taken properly;
  • Lock and store medications in a secure place where others would not think to look; and
  • Dispose of unused or expired medications at drop boxes or during take-back events.


“Prescription drug misuse has reached epidemic levels in the state of Tennessee,” said Kristina Clark, CLD project manager. “Becoming a CLD community is an easy way for local law enforcement and anti-drug coalitions to encourage their residents to closely monitor their prescriptions, especially ones for opioids.”

Communities that have recently joined the program include:



  • Benton County
  • Carroll County
  • Cocke County
  • Claiborne County
  • Crockett County
  • Cumberland County
  • Decatur County
  • Dyer County
  • Fayette County
  • Fentress County
  • Gibson County
  • Giles County
  • Greene County
  • Hancock County
  • Hardin County
  • Henderson County
  • Humphreys County
  • Lauderdale County
  • Lawrence County
  • Lincoln County
  • Loudon County
  • McMinn County
  • Polk County
  • Scott County
  • Sevier County
  • Union County



“We are proud of the program’s success so far, but we know there is more work to do,” said Roy Vaughn, executive director of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation. “It’s exciting to have these new communities join the fight to combat one of the state’s most concerning public health issues.”

In addition, CLD partnered with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to locate a drug disposal drop box in all 95 counties.

For more information on joining Count It! Lock It! Drop It! ™ or to locate a drop box, visit www.countitlockitdropit.org.


About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc.
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc., was established in December 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation awards grants focused on high-impact initiatives across the state, which promote healthy lifestyle choices and help control health care costs for all Tennessee residents. Working with civic and economic partners, the foundation is dedicated to the support of research, innovative programs and creative approaches to improve the health and quality of life of Tennesseans for generations to come.


About BlueCross®
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s mission is to provide peace of mind through better health. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on serving more than 3.4 million members in Tennessee and across the country. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s website at bcbst.com.


Lauterbach to present at Heritage Trail event

Award-winning author Preston Lauterbach will share the rich and vibrant history of Downtown Memphis at a Memphis Heritage Trail event on Friday, Sept. 8.
The event is being presented by the Division of Housing and Community Development as part of its Neighborhood Connect podcast, produced by KUDZUKIAN. Free and open to the public, the event will take place at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 8 at the Paradise Event Center, 645 E. Georgia Ave.
Author of the award-winning books “Beale Street Dynasty” and “The Chitlin Circuit,” a Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and NPR book of the year, Lauterbach will specifically highlight the Memphis Heritage Trail district, a historic 20-block Downtown area that is considered the epicenter of local African-American history, heritage and culture.
“Memphis Heritage Trail highlights the rich African-American history in this community and provides a stimulus for our economy,” HCD Director Paul A. Young said. “The dialogue with Preston Lauterbach will amplify the stories and experiences that make the South City neighborhood such a significant asset to this city.”
After Lauterbach brings the history of Downtown Memphis to life, the audience will hear an update on the status of the MHT project, which celebrates the rich business, cultural and musical heritage of African-American achievements in Memphis. The floor will then be open for questions.
Lauterbach is the first guest of the new season of the Neighborhood Connect podcast. The Neighborhood Connect podcast serves as a portal for people to learn about the culturally rich communities and neighborhoods of Memphis.
“At KUDZUKIAN, we are dedicated to making different voices in the community heard through excellent programming,” Larry Robinson, the founder of KUDZUKIAN, said. “We are very excited to have Preston Lauterbach share the amazing role the African-American community played and continues to play in Memphis.”
ABOUT MEMPHIS HERITAGE TRAIL: Memphis Heritage Trail is an expansive community redevelopment plan that brings historical tourism, urban redevelopment and city-wide pride to important public spaces. The MHT is a historic 20-block redevelopment area that includes the area bordered by Beale Street on the north, Main Street on the west, Crump Boulevard on the south and Manassas Street on the east. Buildings within the area are: Clayborn Temple, Mason Temple, First Baptist Beale, the Universal Life Building and the National Civil Rights Museum. It is considered the epicenter of African-American history, heritage and culture and will include a walking trail with historical markers. More information is available at http://memphisheritagetrail.com/.