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 http://www.ucanofmemphis.org.


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

Meet Ricky Floyd, Jr.
Galesky the artist!wpid-20140606_114330-1.jpg


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.

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 www.ucanofmemphis.org, 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 ucan@ucanofmemphis.org.


Interviewed by Christy

Bullying is a global awareness


Being beat up, pushed around, name calling and more are somethings kids go through in school and at home. But what if it went to far and that child could not take it anymore and decided to commit suicide from it. What would you do? What would you say? The anti-bullying play “You Can’t Hold Me Down” was featured Saturday, March 8 at LeMoyne Owen College. The play showed why bullies bully and how the victim is traumatized from the long term torture.

Many said this play hit home with their own child. It gave them light to know how to help. Memphis Police Department provided resource material for those who needed help. As parents and educators we have to remember that before a child can learn reading, math, social studies and more, they have to have their social skills taught. Meaning if a child has low self esteem due to bullying, you will have a higher drop out rate because they can’t concentrate which could lead to an even higher suicide rate. Identify the signs and get help.

To get more information about UCAN of Memphis contact (901) 262-8642 or visit the website at http://www.ucanofmemphis.org


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 (www.ucanofmemphis.org).

rising student MAD pic

Rising Student M.A.D. Nomination Form

At age 19, God and Family is #1

Paul - Jan

For many 19 year old you would think girls, dating, friends and going out would be on their list of high importance. Not Paul Matthew Morquecho. His importance is God, Family then happiness for friends. Paul was nominated as UCAN of Memphis Rising Student M.A.D. (Making A Difference) for the month of January. I met Paul at The Forgotten Soul Festival Feed the Homeless last Thanksgiving at the House of Mtenzi. He along with his entire family volunteered with UCAN to help clothe, feed and talk with the forgotten souls of the streets. At one point he went out of his way to help find some gloves for a man who said his hands were always cold. When he couldn’t find it, he was extremely disappointed and was willing to give the man his clothes.

Although Rising Student M.A.D. is for middle and high school students, Paul had just entered Memphis College of Art as a Freshman when he was nominated, so he still qualified. This is what Paul had to say about who he is, “…the time I have left in this world is so precious to me. I love Jesus Christ so much, I love my family, and I love the great friendships I made thus far in my life. I try my best to appreciate and enjoy everyday The Lord has blessed me with. Humility and a respectful attitude are the most important things to me, aside from my grades I try my best to maintain. My art is a monumental part of my life and I plan on building a career off it. I’m currently the freshman representative at Memphis College of Art and I enjoy having the responsibilities that come with it. I am the first person in my family to attend college and I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given. I believe in the kindness of strangers and the freedom of individuality. I respect and love all peoples equally, because I raised to do so. Helping others has always, and will always be, an important aspect of my being. I love my life and I’m a really happy person.”

It’s great to have rising students making a difference in the community! If you know a Rising Student M.A.D. nominate them, you never know what holds in store for their future 😉 Nominations are due by 27th of each month and should be emailed to ucan@ucanofmemphis.org. For more information visit the website at http://www.ucanofmemphis.org

rising student MAD pic
Rising Student M.A.D. Nomination Form

Grade at school:

What has this student done to qualify for Rising Student M.A.D. (Rising Student Making a Difference)?

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 ucan@ucanofmemphis.org. 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