Kenndy Anderson has solution to stop teen violence in the community




Kennedy Anderson is the exception of building a new brand.  Kennedy is a sophomore at Central High School with a 3.8 GPA.  She enjoys theater, writing and public speaking which lead her to UCAN of Memphis as the 2nd lead in the anti-bully play “You Can’t Hold Me Down” which was March 8 at Le-Moyne Owen College.  Kennedy was nominated for Rising Student M.A.D. by her tenacity of change.  She was quiet and timid when we were first met but before hitting the stage, Kennedy became this fierce and confident young lady who was willing to help make a difference.

Kennedy stated, “After joining UCAN of Memphis, I have been more active in the community. I was a model at the Memphis Black Expo and I recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help the duties of building new homes.”  She enjoys giving back to the community and helping others.  She also believes it would be less teen violence in the community if more teens volunteered in the community like with organizations such as UCAN of Memphis.  This has been the 2nd Rising Student M.A.D. that has made this statement; so if teens are saying it what can we do to make it happen?  

As a 16 year old, she said she is very mature for her age.  She enjoys being fashionable with her friends but she also knows the limits.  She was taught well and wants to emerge that same wisdom to others her age.  After graduation she plans on going to a 4 year college to major in journalism.  Perhaps she could be our intern for Rising Student M.A.D. ?

Rising Student M.A.D.  exemplifies a student who is willing to make a difference in their community.  Kennedy Anderson has done just that!  If you know a Rising Student M.A.D., nominate them by the 27th of each month to be spotlighted 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 scholarship for college of their choice!  Send your nomination to


Interviewed by Christy


Free Prom Dresses Given

Imagine school year is almost over and you decided not to go to the prom because you don’t have a prom dress. Why? Because you can’t afford it? This is a statement Tamaira Ballard heard so much at Frayser High School in 2013. As a 11th grader, she didn’t think about going to the prom but her friends did. She would ask “What are you wearing to the prom?” When their response was “I’m not going because I can’t afford a dress,” she wondered how she could help. She asked if she was able to help get them a dress would they go. Their response was DEFINITELY! That’s when she started Operation Glamour and Gold.
Tamaira ballard pic Tamaira Ballard

Tamaira started posting on Facebook and sending out letters asking people to help donate prom dresses to juniors and seniors that could not afford it. She was amazed how many responded especially when she sent a letter to The Steve Harvey Show. They received her letter and noted her drive to help others. They later called her and asked her to be on the show! She will be leaving March 18 to do her interview.

On Saturday, March 15, Tamaira gave away 130 dresses to qualified deserving young ladies who were in need of a prom dress. Operation Glam and Gold was held at Frayser Leadership Empowerment Center sponsored by Urban Youth Initiative. What makes Tamaira a Rising Student M.A.D.? As you can see she is creative, a leader, and a community activist. She believes teens need to be more active and volunteer to not only stay busy but to help out when they see a need. Tamaira will be graduating this year and will attend Sullivan University in KY. She has also agreed to help UCAN with their Clothes and Cocktails event in August.

CONGRATULATIONS Tamaira Ballard on being UCAN’s Rising Student M.A.D.(Making A Difference) and making these girls look FABULOUS! (courtesy of Jeanette McKinley-Bowen)
pic of dress 3          pic of dress 2              pic of dress

If you know a middle or high school Rising Student M.A.D., nominate them to be selected and spotlighted on our social media, blogs and website (

rising student MAD pic

Rising Student M.A.D. Nomination Form

Students Dare 2 Dream


There is an incredible need for young people to develop and maintain healthy adult relationships early in their teenage years. These mentor relationships enforce positive and supportive affirmation at a critical time. Research has indicated that it even leads to tremendous societal benefits as well. In dealing with troubled teens that are at risk of becoming chronic juvenile offenders, mentoring is especially effective. It strikes at the heart of an intense need teenagers often experience. The isolation and sense of being insecure and meaningless is often dissolved over time through long-term relationships built on unconditional love and respect. UCAN will be effective to help guide them in the right direction in becoming their mentor, social development such as etiquette and life skills, and their career and college endeavors.

UCAN is a Youth Development organization that has developed an image development program for students in grades 9th-12th in the mid-south area. The program is entitled “Dare 2 Dream”. The purpose of Dare 2 Dream is to provide early intervention and prevention services through the art of etiquette, building character, learn about college and career planning as well as be in the 1st stage play performing March 8. The cost is only $175 per student for the 6- month program. The students will receive back to school supplies and a graduation at the end of the program which ends August 1, 2014 and other great opportunities! Applications are now being accepted and class will start Saturday, February 1. Classes will be held every Saturday until August 1 from 10am – 12pm at Dave Wells Community Center. Students will be required to write a 200 word essay on why they believe the program Dare 2 Dream is important.

Dare 2 Dream is open to all students in middle and high school. We will be at Dave Wells Community Center. The students will be in a 6 month program with trained and qualified adult staff. The expected outcomes in the Dare 2 Dream program are to improved academics, better school attendance rates, confidence in skills achieved and relationships built. Exportable products will include fliers, brochures, and newsletters with program information. We consider this program the anti-drug for the youth.
Community Partnerships
Community Partnerships: Most of our classes are taught in partnership with a diverse range of churches, community-based organizations, local schools and businesses. Our approach is very aggressive in targeting this population since we believe that the earlier a person is introduced to our positive approach plus positive reinforcement; the more open and creative they will be in their efforts to utilize learned skills in their educational and economic advancement. In order to cultivate this willingness to learn about and utilize information/skills taught, we have developed an educational approach that incorporates the following elements:

Mentoring Development
• Etiquette
o Etiquette teaches proper table setting, how to properly speak, dress and to behave
• Professional Attire
o Partner with “Dress for Success” to teach how to dress properly for an interview, job and school
• Health Awareness
o Health Fair to target obesity, fun exercises and proper eating habits. Partner with the Health Department and other health awareness companies
• Life Skills
o Teach integrity, moral ethics, prosperity, defining self characteristics
• College Planning

• Career Planning
UCAN will develop new life that will build on their self esteem and self encouragement to know it’s not what they do but who they are. Dare 2 Dream can lead to exciting opportunities and result in life changing experiences. UCAN staff is committed to our work and creating a unique style in a fun, exciting and in a professional manner.
Classes will be offered every Saturday from 10 am – 12 pm at Dave Wells. Snacks will be provided for the Dave Wells location. After each 4 week class, the students will take a comprehensive exam on what they have leaned. Every quarter the students who have attended Dare 2 Dream will perform an overview for all parents, friends, and the community at the graduation. Each student participant will receive a certificate, a t-shirt and back to school supplies.
It is important that we have the involvement of the parent(s) to participate in the schedule activities. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Leshundra Robinson at (901) 262-8642 or by email at We look forward to becoming a mentor for your child.
DareToDream word pic

Mission Statement
Our Mission is to impact young adolescents through mentoring, personal development, and education which will bring forth positive growth in the community.

Our vision is to expose underprivileged youths in the community to a world where being successful and productive with their lives is not an option because you can achieve now.

To empower youth through mentoring, education and the art of fashion to build self-esteem

It’s Quitting Time

I can’t believe today is the last day of 2013! It has been a remarkable year. We have seen some highs and lows of the organization but all to which was to help UCAN to grow. It doesn’t stop here, we have bigger and brighter things to connect to for 2014. As I looked back upon this year, we have accomplished many goals and it could not have happened without you! The highlights included:

*Took 5 students to Nashville to visit the Capitol to learn about the state legislatures
*Held a College Tour with local and out of state colleges for students at Memphis Business Academy and the community. Also offered financial literacy for grants and student loans
*Provided educational and prevention services through Dare 2 Dream program to 20 low income youth during the summer
*Nominated Best in Black in category Best Community Service Organization
*Featured teens in commercial for Stop Bullying Campaign
*Provided back to school supplies to 30 students and 2 received laptops
*Partnered with Humes Prep Academy and served 10 girls using the Dare 2 Dream model
*Partnered with Manassas High School focusing on young girls in the Principle Empowerment Group
*Partnered with Neighborhood Christian Center and Volunteer Memphis to help clean up and make a difference in the community
*Over 20 teens participated in the operation Feed the Homeless with the House of Mtenzi and served over 100 homeless
*Partnered with community stakeholders and provided a family of 3 with gifts, bikes, money and educational items
*President Leshundra Robinson featured on TBN Network
*UCAN received Memphis City Council Resolution

What’s in store for UCAN for 2014? Connecting more with the teens, inpsiring Teen of the Month, Fashion which involves builing self esteem and motivation and more seminars to help teens have a successful future. How can you stay and/or get involve? Go online to and complete your application on how you can help make a difference in the community. While you are there make a donation to help us help them. Until then, in the meantime, if you know a teen who is inspiring and would like to be featured as a Teen of the Month, email us at

Happp New Year!!!


The Forgotten Soul Festival

This Thanksgiving were most will be gathered around the table with family and friends, enjoying a festivity of fun, laughter and food, there will be others who will be searching and wishing for a hot meal to eat.  They may be thankful to be alive but would prefer a warm place to lay their head or to be amongst good cheer with their family and friends.  The House of Mtenzi on 1289 will be helping these individuals to at least enjoy a good hot meal, free clothing, prayer and fellowship.  On Thanksgiving Day, UCAN will partner with Cam Mtenzi from the House of Mtenzi, to restore the Dignity in the Homeless Community.

For the past 3 years, UCAN has volunteered to help feed the homeless with Cam at the House of Mtenzi. Good hot food such as green beans, chicken and dressing, corn bread, baked ham, sweet potatoes and potato salad is donated and provided to individuals.  New and gently worn clothes, skull caps, socks, scarves, hand sanitizer, toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, toilet tissue, soap and wash towels are provided.  Pastor from Christian Fellowship church will be there to provide prayer.  Last year Ms. Ruby Wilson was there to offer entertainment as they ate and received free hair cuts.

Volunteers from UCAN, Volunteer Mid-South and Cummins will be helping us be a blessing to the Forgotten Souls.

Models hit the runway for charity

Lights, camera, action all for a great cause at Lily Roze Studios.  Models, shoppers and vendors participated in UCAN’s 2nd Annual Clothes and Cocktails event held Saturday,  November 16 at 3pm.  Clothes and  Cocktails is an annual event to help UCAN’s Dare 2 Dream program for at-risk youth.  Designer clothes, new and gently worn men, women and children items were donated to the cause.  Shoes, purses, coats, dresses, and more were all under $10! This was a great bargain for Siren, one of the customers who shopped at Clothes and Cocktails.   This was her first time shopping with Clothes and Cocktails.  “I bought 2 shirts for my son and 2 vinatage outfits for myself.  This was a great shopping experience that I wish they did more than once a year.”  Lacarrius Thomas of Nikki T Fashions was there as a vendor this year but still had enough time to shop till she dropped! Vashauna was able to find great deals 50% off from Nikki T. Fashions. One father brought his son who said he wanted to shop for his mothers birthday gift.  He won a gift from one of our vendors.

Other great vendors and sponsors included included Tracey Lynn Jewelry,  Mary K Cosmectics, Jenuninely Chic Boutique, Skinny Fiber, Black Celebrity Giving, Evergreen Grill, Lily Roze Studios, Fred’s, Beauty and Beyond, and DMC Cleaners.  A mini fashion show was given by our own administrative assistant Mary and guest teen from the audience.  All proceeds are to benefit UCAN’s Dare 2 Dream program that helps motivate, lead, and teach ettiquette,  college and career readiness,  life skills and building on positive self esteem which includes our Stop Bullying Campaign. All clothes remaining will be donated to Dress for Success, Women Shelters, Feed the Homeless and other organizations.  You can become a volunteer, mentor or sponsor for UCAN by visiting or contacting us at 901-262-8642.

We hope to see you at our Christmas Dinner December 21 at 3pm at Lily Roze Studios.

Make a difference today!
Leshundra Robinson, President