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Susan Taylor to issue call for mentors

    Mentors, mentees and their supporters will celebrate mentoring in Memphis at the Memphis Education Association Building at 126 Flicker St., on Saturday.

    The event will mark the 5th anniversary of the Memphis CARES Mentoring Movement. In addition to the presentation of mentoring awards, Susan Taylor, the founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, will deliver a call to action on behalf of mentoring for the community's children.

    Mayor AC Wharton Jr. and his wife, attorney Ruby Wharton, are scheduled for the program, which also will feature the participation of Calvin Anderson, senior vice president and chief of staff, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, and Kym Clark, Morning News anchor and WMC-TV5.

    The Memphis Cares Mentoring Movement was established in 2007 when Sheila Flemming-Hunter, founder and president of The Black Rose Foundation for Children sought Taylor's assistance from the national organization, then located in Atlanta with a half dozen affiliates. Today there are 60 affiliates.

    "Mentoring is all about caring," says Tayor. "It's caring enough to commit just one hour a week to advise and help a vulnerable young person. I hope Memphians will increase their commitment by coming out to the celebration so they can volunteer to be mentors."

    Willie Brooks, chairman of the Board of Directors of Memphis CARES, said this year the local group will use the celebration event to, in part "share information about the relationship of gun violence among young people and the absence of mentors in their lives."

    Each year the organization focuses recruitment activities on areas where there is high need. In 2013, the recruitment will be focused on the Memphis CARES Advance to 18 Mentoring Program, which focuses on foster children 13 to 18 years old, that is coordinated by South Memphis Alliance.

    The annual awards include four categories of recognition: institution, individual, corporate and a couple. The nominees for the Imani (Faith) Mentoring Award include: Charjean Elementary School – "I Am Charjean Mentoring Program"; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Memphis Alumni Chapter – "Guide Right Program-Kappa Days of Caring"; and Memphis Public Library and Information Center – "Real Men Read Volunteers"

    The nominees for the Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) Mentoring Award are: Virgie Banks (FII, Project AWARE Mentoring Program); Whitney Brown (MIFA College Offers Opportunities for Life (COOL) Program); Charlotte Harris (FII, Project AWARE Mentoring Program); Mento Harris – Partners in Alliance Needing Others (P.I.A.N.O.); Joseph M. Long – (Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Memphis Alumni Chapter-Leadership League of Memphis); Lori Love (Memphis City Schools CONNECT Program); A.L. Nance (FII, Project AWARE Mentoring Program); Howard Strelsin (MIFA COOL Program); C. Joy Turner (MIFA COOL Program); and Jeremiah Watson (Repairing The Breach Mentoring Program)

    The nominees for the Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) Corporate Mentoring Award are ServiceMaster, Inc. and Nike, Inc.

    And, the nominees for the Mayor AC and Attorney Ruby Wharton Mentoring Award are Marvin Mims and Nathaniel Landau – Memphis City Schools CONNECT Program; and Matthew and Nina Thornton – Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association.

    The free event is sponsored by Memphis CARES, the African American Network at FedEx, the Mayor's Office Gun Violence Prevention Project and The Black Rose Foundation for Children.

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