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

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.

Our Fight For Our Legacy

MLK50 Inspired Zine

The Immigration Issue

Zine Focusing on Trials and Tribulations of Immigrants in the U.S.

I Matter

Zine Inspired by the Beauty and Multiplicity of Women

Generation Z

Generation Z Focused Zine

In 2019, we see our students as the hands that will revolutionize their communities, embrace their narrative, and envision their world at its best and brightest, while also paying homage to the trailblazing hands of those before them.

Tell Me A Story: One Hand, A Thousand Words is the fourth installment of the Tell Me A Story service project series. For this project, Challengers will create physical manifestations of their hopes for the future, and their identity as a Memphis Challenger, 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 the heights of their own goals.

This project will culminate in an exhibition of the student work, accompanied by prosaic and poetic descriptions of the meaning behind their creations and their ability to turn the creative into the reflective.

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. In the midst of our 30th Anniversary, this project will represent 30 years of successful realization of that mission and spearhead 30 more.