Success Stories

25
Jan

LAUNCH Program Spotlight – Mobile Mommy

Through our LAUNCH program, Advance Memphis is committed to helping equip and empower our neighbors to succeed as small business owners and entrepreneurs.

A launch graduate from our November 2015  class, we are very proud of Ashley Gladney and the work that her business, Mobile Mommy, has been doing. We caught up with her to talk about what got her interested in this business, how she wants to grow, and more…

 

Advance Memphis: What made you want to start Mobile Mommy?

Ashley Gladney: It’s been a dream for years.  When I was a teenager working as a babysitter, I began to see that there was an actual babysitting industry, and I knew I wanted to start a babysitting service when I got older.

Advance Memphis: What has surprised you most about being a small business owner?

Ashley Gladney: The feedback I’ve been getting about the idea.  I didn’t think people would think this was such a big deal, but the positive feedback has been overwhelming and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Advance Memphis: What is the best part of running your own business?

Ashley Gladney: Having the freedom to work for myself—it’s rewarding to work for myself, build a brand, and build my own company.  It’s a good feeling.  I love the thought that one day I will be working for myself, through something I built from the ground up.

Advance Memphis: What is the hardest part of running your own business?

Ashley Gladney: Having to be and do everything.  I have good employees, but trying to catch up with them and see if they can do a job, along with managing everything myself, can be difficult.

Advance Memphis: Where would you like to see Mobile Mommy go in the future?

Ashley Gladney: One day, I would like to see Mobile Mommy in as many cities and states as possible.  I would like for Mobile Mommy to be well known and mentioned among the best child care companies.  I would like for many mothers, as well as student parents, to benefit from Mobile Mommy.  It’s really good when my clients tell me how much Mobile Mommy is a benefit to them.  One client said to me how much Mobile Mommy benefitted their marriage.  Another has told me, “I don’t know what I would do without Mobile Mommy.”

Advance Memphis: What makes Mobile Mommy different from other childcare options?

Ashley Gladney: Mobile Mommy is up close and personal.  Mobile Mommy is also very convenient, and high quality.  Most of my sitters are retired mothers and grandmothers, and a few are retired teachers and nurses.  The quality of my sitters is different and stands out—they are experienced and educated.

Advance Memphis: Is there anything else you would want people to know about Mobile Mommy?

Ashley Gladney: Stay tuned because I plan to grow my business services to help specifically with college student parents soon.

 


Ashley has also recently been featured on Channel 13 News to talk about her business. You can watch her interviews here and here.

With consistent 5 star reviews on her business, Ashley has taken her heart for Children and transformed it into a thriving business.  You can read testimonials about her company here 

We are excited to watch Ashley and Mobile Mommy continue to grow! If you are in need of personalized, high-quality child care, please contact Ashley by emailing ashley@yourmobilemommy.com, calling 901-265-0631, or learn more on her website yourmobilemommy.com

31
Jul

Valerie Riley: LAUNCH Grad & Owner of Clean Heart Cleaning Service

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Twenty-two years ago, Valerie Riley was living in Chicago and she noticed a problem. Valerie was concerned that elderly people in her community did not have access to the home-care and housekeeping services that they need in order to maintain a reasonable quality of life. In response to this, Valerie decided to become a Home Caretaker for elderly residents of her neighborhood who struggled with mental or physical disabilities. She continued doing this for fourteen years before she relocated to Memphis in 2007.

One thing Valerie realized after her move to Memphis was that her neighbors here have similar struggles to those in Chicago; namely, that many people do not have access to good housekeeping services. Valerie also began to hone her skillset, and she realized that her real passion is to provide those specific housekeeping services to those who need them at an affordable rate. Valerie began doing this at no charge for an elderly woman in her community on a consistent basis, and both her skill in cleaning and her love for her work grew during this time.

Fast-forward six years; Valerie has graduated from both the Jobs for Life and Launch entrepreneurship programs at Advance Memphis, and her own housekeeping business is growing. With commercial and residential clients already being served, Clean Heart Cleaning Service is growing, and is looking forward. Valerie’s vision is that her company could provide much-needed access to cleaning services at an affordable rate to people all across the mid-South area of Memphis and beyond.

We asked Valerie what sets her apart from other cleaning services, and she began by giving some of the core principles of her company: honesty and dependability. Clean Heart is committed to providing affordable and excellent cleaning in a reliable way in order to best serve their customers. In addition to this, Clean Heart only uses bio-friendly cleaning products. This means no harmful chemicals!! In all, Clean Heart seeks to go above and beyond by staying committed to affordability, being continually honest and dependable in their work, and using products that are safe for customers and the environment.

 

21
Apr

Permanent Jobs at KM!

3permanentWe are excited to share that three Jobs for Life graduates are being moved from temporary to permanent employment at KM Logistics. KM is committed to rolling temporary employees over as often as they are able, and these three worked slightly over 90 days and proved themselves ready to be KM employees.

From left to right, Antonio Jackson, Jasmine Belote, and Rico Payne all graduated from Jobs for Life in August of 2014. As you can see in the pictures, 2 of the 3 received Perfect Attendance awards while in class, setting a very high standard for themselves from the very beginning. Jasmine was close to Perfect Attendance, but you can see that precious tiny one may have needed some attention at some point during class! We are proud of these three and excited that they will receive pay increases and benefits with their new positions. Join us in praying that they’ll transition well to even greater responsibility and that others will see them and be encouraged!

7
Apr

JfL Grads Giving Back

Looking for some encouraging news today?

A couple weeks ago we received a phone call from Andre and Anthony, JfL graduates permanently employed at National Guard Products. They said multiple grads at NGP wanted to provide a meal for the current JfL class. Soon after, Anthony was in my office with an envelope of money collected from the group, humbly stating the money wasn’t just from him but a whole crew of past grads who have the desire to serve and encourage the current participants as they seek employment.

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Anthony with the money collected from past grads to pay for lunch.

The thoughtfulness and generosity of this group is amazing to me! As they reflected on their journey forward since graduating JfL and going to work, they joyously wanted to support and encourage others walking a similar journey, cheering them on as they go. And they didn’t give in response to a plea for help — they gave because they wanted to give back, and they knew first hand of a need at Advance.

Sometimes it seems we are bombarded by stories of selfishness, greed, and people trampling others to get to the top. How awesome it is to see these hard-working grads use their personal resources to spur on those who are trying to move forward. What an encouragement and challenge!

 

12
Mar

Marilyn’s Investment in Her Business

16795072392_ea1b8419b0_zYou may have seen news about Marilyn in the past; she’s one of our star LAUNCH grads and she’s building Marilyn’s Magic Cleaning into a very successful business.

Marilyn spent 2014 saving money in an Individual Development Account and used her earnings and her matched savings to purchase the industrial vacuum you see here, which comes with lots of bells and whistles. She also used the saved and matched dollars to purchase a floor buffer!

In addition to using her IDA for the vacuum these business assets, Marilyn also made the decision to trade in the nice sedan she had for this (also nice!) mini van. She said her friends and family thought she was crazy, but she knew that this would be the best vehicle for her business.

We caught Marilyn as she left one of her residential cleaning jobs and got this picture with the vacuum, which is incredibly excited about. There’s no stopping an entrepreneur who makes thoughtful investments in her business the way Marilyn does! Marilyn’s business serves a growing number of residential and commercial clients, but is always looking for more. If you need professional cleaning services, or know somebody who might, give Marilyn’s Magic Cleaning a call at 901.900.5177.

3
Jan

Responsibility, Integrity, and Intentionality Matter

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Devine and his niece, taken at his Jobs for Life Graduation in October.

In December, Advance Memphis hired Devine Owens, a LAUNCH grad with a photography business, to take pictures at our Jobs for Life graduation. First thing this morning, Devine came by (before heading home from working all night at KM Logistics) to find out if his business partner had ever gotten the pictures to us, which he had not. Upon learning this, Devine expressed great disappointment and insisted on refunding the money Advance paid him for his services because he hadn’t fulfilled his responsibilities in a timely manner, but he still wanted to follow through and get the pictures to us by early Monday morning. Steve wouldn’t accept a return of the full amount that Devine had been paid, but they settled on a $10 refund. Devine left Advance to cash his paycheck and within 10 minutes was back with a note and the money.

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The note and money from Devine.

Devine was counting on his business partner to deliver the pictures, and when he couldn’t get in touch with him, Devine took full responsibility without any excuses. He immediately was willing to do whatever it took to correct the situation. His level of customer service and integrity is noteworthy and brought some encouragement to the start of 2015.

16187711735_19dc796a45_zAs we at Advance continue to look for ways to do a lot with a relatively small staff, we are thrilled to be able to intentionally hire our LAUNCH graduates to use their skills and abilities to help care for and serve this community better. As Devine is further trained on the types of pictures we need taken, and how to upload them and display them on our video slideshow in the lobby, graduates will more quickly see their photos up and be able to celebrate and be encouraged all the more on their accomplishments thus far. It’s a win across the board!

A little responsibility, integrity, and intentionality can make a big difference. In December, Devine also earned his high school diploma through our GED/HSE program. We’re looking for great things in his life in 2015!

STORY UPDATE: Devine’s business partner met us at the office first thing Monday morning with all the picture files: a job well done!

16
Dec

Grads Hiring Grads!

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At left, Paul Outlaw. At op right is Glander Mickens; at bottom right is Chevi Murphy.

There is always cause for celebration when a Jobs for Life graduate finds full-time employment somewhere. But it is all the more exciting when another past graduate has been the one conducting the interviews!

Paul Outlaw, a graduate of multiple Advance Memphis programs, has been employed permanently through TheCyberYard.com since 2011. He currently holds the position of Warehouse Manager. Recently TheCyberYard.com was in a position to hire a couple of new employees and Paul interviewed two other Advance Memphis grads, Glander and Chevi, last week.

This Monday morning at 8:00 AM marked Glander Mickens’ and Chevi Murphy’s first day of permanent employment with TheCyberYard.com! While we celebrate with Glander and Chevi on their newfound employment, we also are thankful and encouraged by TheCyberYard.com looking to hire other Advance Memphis grads AND having Paul in the leadership role of interviewer. Join us in praying for these ladies as well as for the rest of the staff of TheCyberYard.com.

P.S. This just in: Paul and TheCyberYard.com were also able to offer a part time position to Jobs for Life graduate Zach Green. Zach will be a mechanical maintenance trainee and his position will shift to full time as he progresses!

Below is a 1 minute video, From Despair to Hope, that features Paul and tells a little more of his story.

 

12
Dec

WHAT WE DID THIS YEAR: OUTCOMES, PROGRESS, CHANGE

2014 in REVIEW

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 In 2014, Advance Memphis, together with over 240 volunteers, 14 staff members, dozens of donors, and an
amazing community of participants, operated programs that brought opportunity and change to 38126.

LEARNING: Jobs for Life, GED/HSE, Electives

  • 95 neighborhood residents graduated from Jobs for Life this year, completing 6 weeks of soft skill job training, including resume creation, mock interviews, goal setting, and much more.
  • give with more15 students received their GED/High School Equivalencies in 2014. The test is more difficult this year, resulting in lower pass rates nationwide. Even so, Advance boasts a 68% pass rate, compared with a 53% national rate and a 60% rate at our local testing center.
  • 48 participants received counseling, working to overcome depression and other emotional roadblocks to employment. Each client averages about 2.3 sessions and we’re averaging 2 crisis sessions per month.
  • 211 individuals attended an Overcoming through Christ addiction recovery meeting this year. 37 of those attended 3 or more meetings, working consistently to face their addictions.
  • Electives were offered for the first time this year: 34 participants completed Anger Management class and 32 participants completed Touch, Talk, Read, Play, the Urban Childhood Institute’s curriculum for parents and guardians.

WORKING: Employment and Staffing

  • 101 grads have started temp jobs this year. 26 of these were then transferred into permanent positions.
  • Another 31 graduates were hired directly into permanent positions.
  • Those surveyed (approx. 1/3 of the year’s graduates) reported an average wage of $8.81, 21% above minimum wage.
  • Grads working through the Advance Memphis Staffing Program have earned $850,000.

SAVING: Faith & Finances, IDAs

  • 27 students completed Faith & Finances (7 above our goal), earning a personal finance education AND the right to open an Individual Development Account (matched savings).
  • 15 students opened IDAs this year and 3 saved enough to purchase cars.
  • 9 of the participants who opened accounts this year are still saving.
  • For the first time, our staff trained other organizations to offer Faith & Finances, training 19 individuals from Memphis, the Mid-South, Atlanta, and further.

WORKING FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE

  • 15 students completed LAUNCH (training for entrepreneurs) and, as a direct result, at least 12 of those grads have started or solidified businesses and have made sales since completing class. Most of these businesses operate from 38126, some employ residents.
  • An average of 9 grads participated in monthly meetings of the newly formed Yours & Mine
  • Community Association, hosting picnics, neighborhood clean-ups, and Breakfast with Santa.
  • The Advance Memphis Community Garden continues to thrive, serving as a place for community building, an outdoor classroom for Jobs for Life, and a small business incubator…look for more from the garden in 2015!

WE STRIVE TO REFLECT THE HOPE OF THE COMING KINGDOM OF GOD IN 38126 THROUGH
TRANSFORMATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

 

 

11
Dec

Leaf Raking and the Kingdom

If you’re keeping up with any of the posts over at Release Your RaiseDONALD AT WORK, you know that Advance Memphis and our friends are giving a lot of thought to ways that any of us can get involved with a vision for a Kingdom economy. Ideas for this involvement range from the sacrificial (giving up your raise?!) to the simple (consider who you hire for tasks around your house). The impact of either can be huge.

Meet Virginia, a twenty something MTR grad and teacher at The Soulsville Charter School. Virginia takes lots of steps to live her life in the Kingdom, but she’s also just a normal working woman with lots of leaves in her yard at this time of the year. So she has lots of choices to consider, right? Rake ‘em yourself. Google “lawn services Memphis.” Ask friends who they use for such services. But Virginia, as an Advance volunteer, knew of our LAUNCH program for entrepreneurs and checked with us to see if we knew anyone could help her with her lawn.

Meet Donald, a Jobs for Life and LAUNCH grad with a lawn care business. (You can read more about him over at Release Your Raise.) He took Virginia’s call and arranged a time to assess her lawn. He impressed her with his attention to detail and with the way he set up a time to come back and promised to call when he began work (since she would still be at school.) He then came back and did a great job, getting her lawn in great shape and taking care of the leaf situation. Donald has definitely won himself a new customer. That’s it, folks. Just the smallest decisions can result in new relationships, new business, and a bigger, brighter Kingdom.

20
Nov

Staffing Team Saves the Weekend!

Donald Evans, at right, pictured with Mike Shaw, GED/HSE Instructor

Donald Evans, at right, pictured with Mike Shaw, GED/HSE Instructor

Last weekend, a few of our Advance Memphis Staffing Program employees made us proud and grateful as they went above and beyond to solve a problem and get their work done with excellence and integrity.

On a Friday evening, Donald Evans, team lead (pictured at left), and 3 of his team members (Damien Clayborn, Chevi Murphy, and Glander Mickens) showed up to work. They were on a line that normally requires 8 workers, but the rest of the team didn’t show. Normally, this would mean weekend and late night phone calls to our Employment Staffing team, but in this case, there was no call. Instead, Don led this team to do the work of 8 with a team of 4. And they didn’t just do this Friday night — they continued it for Saturday and Sunday nights as well. Our staff didn’t even know of the problem until Don came in on Monday morning to deliver the time sheets.

When Juanita Johnson, Employment Support and HR Manager, realized what had happened over the weekend, she let Don know that he could have called — but she also let him know that this was an amazing example of going above and beyond and adding value in the workplace. We applaud the work that these folks did, as well as the character and excellence that went into that work.