Do you know the zone you are in? Let’s Talk!

UCAN extended an open call to participants ages 12-20 to take part in its quarterly teen talk session on June 28 entitled, “The Social.” During this session, topics will include peer pressure, bullying, self-esteem, say no to drugs and other critical issue topics facing teens. The free event was held at the House of Mtenzi from 2 to 5 p.m., 1298 Madison.


Each quarter “Let’s Rap” Teen Talk session gives teens an outlet to be empowered, discuss hot pressing topics, socialize with other teens and be creative. Each session carries a different focus with varying topics. Young people are interviewed to get their take on current news issues, while a host of motivational speakers are enlisted to enlighten and encourage throughout the year.
This quarter “Let’s Rap” was entitled “The Social”. This quarter we discuss sensitive topics such as peer pressure, drugs, sex and more that teens may not feel so comfortable to discuss with parents. Brandy Flynn of Brady J. Flynn Counseling and Consulting Services, Elder Jessie Jennings, author of On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! and UCAN President Leshundra Robinson was this quarter, “The Social”, guest panelists.

The teens were engaged to the questions asked by host James Wesby. The panelist answered the questions with honesty. They shared their own experience as a teenager and how they handled some of the issues dealing with peer pressure in college, dating and identifying your own identity. Here are some of the takeaways from “The Social”:

1. Identify your “Self-Identity” early, if possible
2. Say ‘no’ to any substances that may cause addiction
3. Don’t make “this is just my environment” an excuse – select the right environment (good soil) to plant your seed (you).
4. Be purposeful – (i.e. selecting college)
5. Based on your career aspirations or who you are, what type of music tell about yourself? What’s your personal ‘soundtrack’
6. Utilize music to provoke positivity in your life
7. Know who you are internally before adding or take away from your body, externally (hair, tattoos, losing weight, etc.). This can be the determining factor towards your decision.
8. Don’t get caught up how someone thinks about you, but make sure you’re confident in yourself
9. Relationships – Love yourself, but prepare for that season……..prepare during the “pre-season” before the actual game
10. Get a mentor……today!

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The next teen talk sessions are Sept. 27, which will have a focus on networking and the 30-second elevator speech and Dec. 27, which will focus on a student’s hidden talents, emphasizing self-expression through song, dance and poetry.

UCAN’s mission is to impact young adolescents through mentoring, personal development and education with a goal to foster positive growth in the community. The organization, co-founded by Leshundra Robinson in 2005 as a community giveback to her former neighborhood, primarily mentors young female teens in the North Memphis area. For more info on the rap sessions or UCAN’s other community and educational programs, visit or call 262-8642.


How are you making a difference today?

Rising Student M.A.D. gives the community, teachers, parents and their peers the opportunity to nominate a student who has made a difference in the community, at school, or even at home helping their family to strive to change. Students are often embraced as juvenile delinquency only because they don’t have the right guidance. With Rising Student M.A.D. you will see these students are the opposite and have been willing to change their environment by making a difference.

wpid-20140620_143028.jpgMeet Christopher Wilson, 13 years old and a student at Colonial Middle School with a 4.5 GPA! Yes, over the barometer with a 4.5 GPA and striving to do better. We met up with Christopher at the Benjamin Hooks Library to talk about his nomination and winner of Rising Student M.A.D. (Making A Difference) in the community. Christopher was in his sharp light blue suit prepared for an interview. We asked Christopher what he thought made him different from other 13 year old students. His response was he had 2 different ears that made him hear further and what he felt made him understand his lessons better.

With a 4.5 GPA, a joy for reading books such as The 39 Clues Series and books by Andrew Clements and a peer reader for the non-profit organization, Successful Single Moms Memphis and Smart Start Family Literacy Program, you wouldn’t think he would have time to have fun with his friends but he does! He takes time out to be a typical student by playing games, going skating and just texting each other. He is known to his friends as the “problem solver”. They go to Christopher for advice which is amazing to me as he is only 13 years old. Beautiful! His most noted quote to his peers is “Don’t give up but strive for the success.” His mother, Irene Ford, has really been a great motivator and role model for him to follow. He sees her always working to help others, reading and making a difference so he directs his path to emulate her.

One question we asked Christopher is what do you think teens need to do to improve the community? His response…volunteer and help the elders. He helps his 90 year old grandmother with chores around the house.

Each month we will spotlight the winner of Rising Student M.A.D. on our website, media and other social sites. The student will also volunteer with the organization representing Rising Student M.A.D. At the end of the year, we will have all Rising Student M.A.D. attend our Christmas Gala December 20, 2014 at Wingate by Wyndham. Only one of the Rising Student M.A.D. will be honored a small scholarship for a college of their choice! Deadline to nominate a Rising Student M.A.D is the 27th of each month. The winner will be announced and featured on at the end of each month. Send your nomination to

Teen Talk

This will be a great opportunity for teens to talk freely about issues they are pressing to them with peers.  No judging, open conversation with experts that have been where you have.  It’s FREE and refreshments will be served.  You can also will have the chance to 2 win 1 ticket to the Dare 2 Dream Teen conference July 25-26 at Bridges located at 477 N. 5th Street from 11-3pm. Go to

Check out the story!


“Promote Being Yourself” – Rising Student M.A.D

Meet Ricky Floyd, Jr.
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As you know each month we spotlight a Rising Student M.A.D. (making a difference) in the community. We are a little behind but have caught up with our April’s Rising Student M.A.D, Galesky AKA Ricky Floyd, Jr. We met him and his family at The Office @ Uptown located downtown 594 N. 2nd Street to talk a little about why he felt he was making a difference in the community.

Galesky is only 15 years old and changing the lives of many young teens in the community by his poetry. Born as Ricky Floyd, Jr., he attends Central High School as a 10th grader and enjoys writing and rapping about poetry. He has recently performed at Memphis Business Academy in Frayser for their teen summit. The students were able to relate to his poetry and even asked could he come back to give more inspirational thoughts. Galesky started writing at a young age; he considered himself the “nerdy type” and didn’t want to follow the crowd. So he wrote poetry. He felt you should own up to your own style of nerdiness and just promote being you.

His plans after high school is to attend one of many great art schools in Memphis, Visible College of Arts located in Downtown Memphis. He wants to perfect his craft in poetry and even try some other instruments such as bass and acoustic guitar.

Watch UCAN’s interview to see more and hear his poetry, which has received over 1,200 hits on his YouTube Channel!  

If you know a student in middle or high school that is making a difference in the community, nominate them by sending an emailing telling us why you think this student should me a Rising Student M.A.D.