Park design unveiled as Memphis neighborhood marks next phase of $5.4-million ‘BlueCross Healthy Place’ effort
In a June 14 ceremony, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation broke ground at Memphis’ David Carnes Park on the first project under its new strategic focus, the BlueCross Healthy Place program.
The ceremony, which marks the beginning of the construction phase of the project, followed extensive planning and input from residents of the Whitehaven neighborhood where the park is located. Development of the space will continue throughout the summer with the aim of opening the revitalized park by the end of the year.
In attendance from the city were Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Councilwoman Patrice Robinson.
“Reinvesting in our neighborhoods is a major part of what we’re doing at City Hall, but we can’t do it alone. I can’t thank the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation enough for this multi-million-dollar investment in this park, in Whitehaven, and in helping Memphians connect with one another through public spaces,” said Strickland.
The event, held at Greater Faith Tabernacle Ministries adjacent to the park, began with a design reveal, showing attendees the elements that will appear in the redesigned space. Among these were a play area, a new walking track, an adult fitness area and a splash pad, all requested by local residents.
Kevin Woods, BlueCross Memphis market president, welcomed the attendees. “We’re excited to be breaking ground on this project as envisioned by the community it is intended to serve. The BlueCross Healthy Place at David Carnes Park will provide Whitehaven residents a reimagined public space to connect with one another and stay active,” he said.
Following the reveal, attendees watched as Strickland, Robinson, Woods and Scott Wilson, director of community relations and foundation for BlueCross, officially broke ground on the project. Afterwards, the group was invited to explore the park and visit stations containing additional information about the redesign.
Wilson said, “The David Carnes Park project has been a true partnership with the residents of the Whitehaven area, and the design reflects their input.”
The project is the first of many that will take place across the state through the BlueCross Healthy Place program.
For the latest updates on the project at David Carnes Park, please visit https://bettertennessee.com/tag/bluecross-healthy-place/.
Additional resources related to the BlueCross Healthy Place program are available at https://bcbstnews.com/mediaresources/bluecross-healthy-place-program.
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 3.5 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 www.bcbst.com.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc.
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc. (THF) 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. THF awards grants focused on high-impact initiatives across the state that promote better health.
The Tarik Black Foundation has a new camp this year targeting young women. The program is called the Girls’ Life Academy Memphis (GLAM) or Summer GLAM. This life skills development program targets young ladies from ages 16-20 years old and introduces them to leaders in industry and community with a focus on learning how to make good choices. The six weeks camp includes experiential field trips, forums and wrap sessions.
The Summer GLAM program runs Monday through Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. at Mount Olive CME Cathedral Church at 538 Martin L. King Avenue in Memphis, TN. Some of the key presenters include: Monday, June 11th, L’Oréal Executive Jennifer McDaniel will speak on Leadership, Monday, June 11th, , McDaniel will discuss setting goals and achieving them, Tuesday, June 12th, Akina Morrow will teach presentation skills and on Wednesday, June 13th, WMC-TV Reporter Kelli Cook will discuss appropriate attire. Later that day the girls take a field trip to visit the Memphis Brooks Museum.
Other speakers in upcoming weeks include: Paragon Bank Executive Nancy Wells, Real Estate Executive James Maclin, Financial Planner Christine Jaroush, Physician Dr. Angela Watson, Restauranteur Aryen Moore – Alston, Business Owner and Community Activist Deidre Malone and Entrepreneur Kennedy Black.
“The Tarik Black Foundation mission focuses on activities and programs that are character building and this program meets that criteria,” said Judith Black Moore, President of the Tarik Black Foundation. “We have tried to address the pitfalls encountered in transitioning from teen to adulthood and create life classes that offer wisdom and insight. Our goal is to present these in a way in which they will remember so that they make prudent grown-up decisions from the very start.”
Participants, given the nickname “GLAMERS” are being paid to participate as one of the job sites for the City of Memphis MPLOY Program. The Tarik Black Foundation is a new MPLOY partner as of this summer. To learn more about the camp, visit the website: www.Tarikblackfoundation.org .
About the Tarik Black Foundation
The Tarik Black Foundation was founded by National Basketball Association player and Houston Rocket Tarik Black. The Memphis native, who graduated from Ridgeway High School, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis and his master’s degree from the University of Kansas. The Tarik Black Foundation, headquartered in Black’s hometown, Memphis, TN, provides programs and recognizes causes that help bring about positive change in communities. The foundation is managed by Judith Black Moore who serves as president and oversees day-to-day operations.
Today, Aspire Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Hack announced the appointment of Nickalous Manning, Ed.D. as the new Memphis Area Superintendent. He has been with the organization since 2012, serving as an Associate Superintendent, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Principal of Hanley Elementary and Memphis Community Outreach and Partnerships Manager.
“Nick brings a wealth of experience to his role, as both an Aspire principal and regional leader,” said Hack. “His unwavering commitment to his hometown, deep love for Aspire and its vision, and inspiring leadership style make him the right choice to lead Aspire Memphis.” Aspire currently has three schools under the Achievement School District and one under Shelby County Schools. More than 1,600 students attend the Memphis Aspire School District.
“I look forward to serving children and families in my hometown,” said Manning. “I believe in our mission and vision for our schools and our scholars. I am proud of what our team at Aspire has accomplished already and I look forward to working with our Aspire teammates to improve outcomes for children. I will work hard every day to achieve that goal.”
Prior to joining Aspire, Manning worked in the Memphis City School system as a teacher, assistant principal, New Leader Resident Principal and a principal. He holds a BS in Secondary Education with a concentration in Economics from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Ed.D in Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Manning becomes Aspire’s second Memphis Superintendent replacing Allison Leslie who announced her departure in May. Leslie is thrilled for Manning. “I am looking forward to seeing Dr. Manning continue the great work we started together and make it even better. He believes in the importance of academic excellence for all of our scholars and it shows in the work he has done to date.”
About Aspire Public Schools
Aspire Public Schools operates 40 high-performing, college-preparatory public charter schools serving 16,600 students in underserved communities across California and Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1998, Aspire is one of the nation’s largest open-enrollment public charter school systems serving predominantly low-income students, delivering a rigorous College for Certain education across grades TK-12. Currently in its 19th academic year, Aspire is one of the nation’s first charter school systems. Visit Aspire Public Schools at www.aspirepublicschools.org.
$5.4 million investment will create revitalized space for community activity
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation has announced that the first project under its new strategic focus, the BlueCross Healthy Place℠ program, will be an expansive, revitalized public space at David Carnes Park in Memphis.
In total, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation is investing as much as $5.4 million in the Whitehaven neighborhood park. Up to $4.5 million will go toward construction of the park and its facilities, along with a $900,000 endowment earmarked for its maintenance and care.
The BlueCross Healthy Place program provides neighborhoods with communal spaces for healthy activities, improving the overall wellbeing of Tennesseans.
“Concentrating our giving on BlueCross Healthy Places will allow us to have a bigger impact within our communities, reaching both urban and rural areas across the state,” said Scott Neal Wilson, BlueCross director of community relations and health foundation. “We’re excited about the potential of these projects, and we are honored to partner with the city of Memphis to launch this new focus.”
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee gathered feedback for the Memphis project during a community meeting held at Greater Faith Tabernacle Ministries on Monday, April 16. Mayor Jim Strickland and Councilwoman Patrice Robinson were in attendance, along with Kevin Woods, BlueCross Memphis market president.
“The BlueCross Healthy Place program shares one of our top priorities: healthy, inviting public spaces for our citizens. That’s why we’re so grateful for this partnership with the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, and we’re looking forward to enhancing this park for neighbors here in Whitehaven,” said Strickland.
BlueCross Healthy Place projects are collaborations with the communities they serve. During the planning phase, representatives meet with community members to hear their ideas and ensure the space is tailored to the needs of area residents. Finalized BlueCross Healthy Places may include a number of elements, such as athletic fields, walking tracks, playgrounds and fitness areas.
The Memphis site was selected in partnership with the city and in response to community residents who previously expressed interest in having more resources for the park.
“Input from residents is crucial to the project’s success. The space will be an asset to their community – an area where they can be active and form new connections. It will truly be a hub of renewed civic activity and a jewel in the Memphis park system,” added Woods.
The project will be completed with PlayCore, a national play and recreation company. Efforts will be made to work with local and diverse suppliers.
Additional competitive funding opportunities for future BlueCross Healthy Place projects across the state will be announced in the fall. For the latest updates on the Memphis project, please visit www.bettertennessee.com.
For additional resources related to the BlueCross Healthy Place program, please visit https://bcbstnews.com/mediaresources/bluecross-healthy-place-program.
The Memphis and Shelby County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) along with the Uptown Advisory Committee is planning a week-long charrette to give residents, business owners and community stakeholders a voice in the Uptown Community Planning process. The Charrette will be held from April 16 – 20, 2018 at the Neighborhood Christian Center, located at 785 Jackson Ave in the redevelopment area.
The community meetings are designed to gather input from community residents and stakeholders in an inclusive and interactive way. Throughout the week there will be fun pop-up events throughout the neighborhoods in the redevelopment area. Friday, April 20th, the CRA Team will share with the public early recommendations and close the week with an Uptown themed community block party at the Explore Bike Share Warehouse at 61 Keel.
“During the Uptown community planning process, residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions and influence public decisions,” said Tanja Mitchell, CRA Uptown Neighborhood Coordinator. “This is the community’s plan; therefore it is important that residents bring their authentic voice to the table and participate in shaping the future of the community in which they call home. As both an employee of the CRA and a resident of Uptown, I encourage my neighbors to the north, south and east to come out be a part of the planning process.”
Over the next 14 years, more than $95 million will be generated in the Uptown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district which includes not only Uptown but parts of Smokey City, New Chicago, North Parkway, Carnes and the Medical District which are in District 7. “I want to encourage every Uptown resident to participate in the Uptown Community Plan Planning process,” said Berlin Boyd, Chairman, Memphis City Council. “This is an important opportunity to be a part of the process on the forefront and have a say in where and how funds should be allocated to enhance the community.
I guarantee you will feel a great sense of pride and inclusion knowing that you participated in this worthwhile endeavor and had a direct impact and influence on the decisions being made.”
The CRA encourages those not able to attend the public meetings to provide input by completing the survey found at CRAMemphis.org. A full listing of all of the public meetings, pop-up locations, and daily recaps can be found on the website.
About the Memphis and Shelby County Community Redevelopment Agency
The City of Memphis and Shelby County Community Redevelopment Agency was created to review applications for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts and expenditures of TIF Funds. The seven-member Community Redevelopment Agency Board of Directors are appointed by the Mayor of Memphis and Mayor of Shelby County. They are responsible for working with the CRA staff to participate in partnerships that encourage reinvestment in neighborhoods.
Tennessee collected an impressive 20,590 pounds of prescription drugs during the DEA’s 15th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28.
For Count It! Lock It! Drop It! those statistics continue to indicate that its efforts are paying off. CLD is a community program for prescription drug misuse that works to raise awareness about ways to keep drugs, especially opioid pain medication, out of abusers’ hands and how to properly dispose of them.
The CLD program was begun as a local initiative by the Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition, but it expanded its support training and outreach efforts to 80 counties following a $1.3 million grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation in 2016. In addition, CLD played a key role in getting a prescription drop box established in all of Tennessee’s 95 counties. With the help of organizations such as coalitions, health councils and law enforcement departments, it has distributed 148,000 campaign materials.
As part of its outreach, it has heavily promoted the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day encouraging people to properly dispose of unused and expired prescription pain pills along with other medications sitting around their homes.
Overall, the DEA’s Take-Back Day was a huge success, not only in Tennessee, but nationwide. A record-setting 475 tons of expired and unwanted prescription medications were collected at more than 6,000 sites across the United States.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the take-back results in Tennessee,” said Kristina Clark, CLD project manager. “This event continues to increase awareness of the need to safely dispose of unused pain medication, and we want to continue to encourage everyone to take part in helping us fight the opioid epidemic.”
Dr. Andrea Willis, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, says these results reinforce the Health Foundation’s decision to work with Count It! Lock It! Drop It! to help address the epidemic.
“We know firsthand the importance of confronting the opioid crisis in Tennessee,” Dr. Willis said. “It has been incredibly rewarding to work alongside CLD and help expand the program across the state. Each year, Tennesseans turn in an impressive amount of medication, and we have no doubt this is due in part to CLD’s efforts to educate the state on the dangers of prescription medication misuse.”
Tennessee has been participating in the DEA’s take-back events since 2010, and more than 205,000 pounds of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription pills have been collected.
Count It! Lock It! Drop It!® (CLD) is a comprehensive community program for prescription drug misuse prevention based in Coffee County, Tenn. With support from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, and the community at large, the program is leading a statewide education effort to combat the misuse and abuse of prescription pain medication. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 7,636,112 opioid prescriptions were written in 2016, and it is CLD’s mission to make the community aware of the risks and dangers associated with the prescription drug misuse epidemic.
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.
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 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit the company’s website at bcbst.com.