Tell Me A Story

The Tell Me A Story

Service Project Series

Memphis Challenge, spanning close to three decades of inspiring and developing future Memphis leaders, has a tradition of raising awareness. Over the past three years, Memphis Challenge students have used their stories, their voices, and their hearts to tell impactful narratives that reflect their own communities.

Tell Me a Story: Service Through Storytelling

There is power in the telling of a good story. Through the project, Tell Me a Story: Service Through Storytelling. Challengers in grades 9-12 created eight storybooks and an anthology of poems inspired by the National Day of Service and wanting to leave a lasting impact that would build character in youth. Today, these students are published authors and host readings and discussions for children throughout the city. The project aimed to bring smiles, excitement and love of storytelling to children, as well as enrich the process of using creativity to give back for Memphis Challenge students. The Memphis Challenge story collection includes eight children’s paperback books and an anthology of poems for teens. For questions or to schedule a reading, contact Avery Cunningham at acunningham@memphischallenge.org.

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Tell Me A Story: Giving Voice To the Voiceless

In 2017, it was through film: Tell Me A Story: Giving Voice To the Voiceless. Challengers created three short films, two PSAs, and two podcasts about the struggles the youth and children of Memphis face every day. Two of those films were screened last September at the Youth Indie Memphis Film Festival alongside youth short films from Memphis and abroad.

Tell Me A Story: The Courage of Creativity

In 2018, it is through art and prose that Memphis Challenge students have raised awareness and inspired others through creativity. Tell Me A Story: The Courage of Creativity is the third installment of the Tell Me A Story service project series. For this project, students created four Zines, which are grassroots, independent publications showcasing prose and art, in the same vein as a journal or a magazine. In honor of the MLK50 milestone, each Zine has a social justice issue as its theme, highlighting the struggles of the past and the hopes of the future.

The artist Henri Mattise said that creativity takes courage. Just as courage is required to be creative, courage is required to defend and advocate on behalf of others. Honoring one of history’s most profound social justice advocates, students will use this project to define that courage and express the beauty, the pain, and the triumph of fighting for what is right.

In 2019, the Memphis Challenge will celebrate 30 years of inspiring and developing future Memphis leaders. This year, we see our students as the hands that will build communities and cities to grander heights, while also paying homage to the trailblazing hands of Challengers before them.

Tell Me A Story: Our Hands, Our Legacy is the fourth installment of the Tell Me A Story service project series. For this project, Challengers will create physical testimonials to their legacy in the form of plaster moldings of their own hands. These sculptures will be embellished with artistic representations of their views on community, heritage, and hopes for the future. Accompanying these sculptures will be student-written prose and poetry, inspired by our theme.

The endeavor will culminate in a commemorative event celebrating Memphis Challenge’s 30th Anniversary. At this time, the hand sculptures will be auctioned to the benefit of the organization, and it is our hope that a large scale public art version of Our Hands, Our Legacy will be unveiled.

Nelson Mandela said it best: “It is in your hands to make our world a better one for all.” This quote is the essence of what the Memphis Challenge is, and will continue to be. We’re inspiring and developing future Memphis leaders not for one, or for a few, but for the growth of all Memphians. This project will memorialize 30 years of successful realization of that mission and spearhead 30 more.

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