BlueCross Breaks Ground on David Carnes Park Project

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

Additional resources related to the BlueCross Healthy Place program are available at

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 3.5 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

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 Hosts Summer GLAM (Girls’ Life Academy Memphis)

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: .

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.



Aspire Public Schools Selects Dr. Nickalous Manning as New Supt. for the Memphis Region

Aspire Public Schools Selects Dr. Nickalous Manning as New Supt. for the Memphis Region


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


Memphis Talent Dividend Hosts Education Fair for Recent High School Graduates and Adults Interested in Attending College

Recent high school graduates and adults who are interested in attending college this fall are invited to attend an Education Fair sponsored by the Memphis Talent Dividend/Graduate Memphis. They will have an opportunity to complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). This event is free and open to the public and will be held on Friday, July 15th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ben Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38111.

This Education Fair will conclude this year’s campaign that kicked-off on January 7th.  Last year, the Memphis Talent Dividend/Graduate Memphis community partners assisted with completing more than 7,000 FAFSA applications.  So far this year more than 66% of high school graduates have completed forms to help them enroll in an educational opportunity post high school graduation.

For more information about the Education Fair and the Memphis Talent Dividend/Graduate Memphis, contact Alton Cryer, Program Coordinator at 901.278.0016 or

More About 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, FastTrack, Criminal/Juvenile Justice, and Grassroots. Its Action initiatives are Memphis Talent Dividend/Graduate Memphis, and SUCCESS High Schools.


ASPIRE Public Schools Open House this Week

ASPIRE Public Schools Open House this Week


The group of charter schools is opening the doors for the community to learn more about their schools and mission.

Aspire Public Schools are offering fresh opportunities for some of Memphis’ most populated communities to engage with the exciting charter school. In October, Aspire Hanley Schools are opening their doors to invite the community into the schools to learn more about their mission and commitment to the communities their schools are located in.

Aspire Hanley Open House

Thursday, October 22nd – 10am and 6pm

Aspire Hanley School – 680 Hanley Street, Memphis, TN 38114

Orange Mound residents will get a chance to tour the Aspire Hanley school and learn about its curriculum and vision of “College for Certain.”

CONTACT: Jonnie Hatten – 901.361.9647

About Aspire

Aspire Public Schools operates 38 high-performing, college-preparatory public charter schools serving 15,000 students in underserved communities across California and Memphis, Tenn. 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 to students in grades K-12. An unrelenting focus on college preparedness led to 100 percent of graduating Aspire seniors being accepted to four-year colleges or universities over the last six years. Currently in its 17th academic year, Aspire is one of the nation’s first charter school systems. Visit Aspire Public Schools at

Seafood Nutrition Partnership Launches National Public Health Education Campaign in 9 Cities including Memphis

Seafood Nutrition Partnership Launches National Public Health Education Campaign in 9 Cities including Memphis


The Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP)  launches a three-year public health education campaign across the country to help the underserved and all Americans understand the nutritional benefits of eating seafood and the positive impact on improving heart health. Memphis was one of two pilot cities last year. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of more Americans prematurely than any other preventable disease. Memphis native and Food Network star Gina Neely is a national spokesperson and ambassador for SNP and cardiologist Claro Diaz, M.D.  a local ambassador. The other cities include: Birmingham, Alabama; Charleston, West Virginia; Golden Isles, Georgia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Lexington, Kentucky; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Toledo, Ohio.

The Memphis events include the following:

  • October 11-17    Memphis Restaurant Week: These restaurants are SNP partners that are promoting eating seafood to educate citizens on some of the benefits like a healthier heart and life. The participating restaurants this week include: Tsunami, 928 South Cooper; Flying Fish, 102 South 2nd; Pearl’s Oyster House, 299 South Main; and the Trolley Stop Market, 704 Madison.
  • October 24          “SNP Chat and Cook” at Sam’s Club with SNP Ambassadors Gina Neely and Chef Ayanna Johnson at Sam’s Club at 7475 Winchester. Chef Johnson will create a cost-effective seafood meal and Gina Neely will discuss the benefits of incorporating seafood into your diet twice a week.  This event will be on Saturday, October 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • October 31          “SNP Memphis Healthy Heart Summit” will share information on the importance of eating seafood and the effects it has on your health, physical fitness and a cooking demonstration. Participants include: Cardiologist Claro Diaz M.D., a nutritionist, a fitness expert and a chef to demonstrate how to prepare a cost-effective seafood meal at the Church Health Center. This event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 31.

About the SNP

The Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) is a 501 (C) (3) nonprofit whose mission is to inspire a healthier America through partnerships that raise awareness about essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood. SNP, a member of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Roundtable, leads education efforts to help Americans gain the skills to select, order and prepare fish and shellfish, and to inspire a healthier America by promoting a nutrient-rich diet that includes seafood. For more information, visit