Newsletter Q1 2018

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Meet Rhoda

Rhoda, like so many other graduates of Advance Memphis, has worked extremely hard to maintain a job in an under-resourced neighborhood where over 65% of people are not currently employed. Read more…







Earn While You Learn

Meaningful work. Earn while you learn. Thanks to our partnership with Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) and MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, 14 adults became certified and graduated from Autonomous Maintenance Training(AMT) on March 8, 2018.  Each graduate has gained skills that can be stabilizing assets to help them earn a livable wage.  Learning a marketable skill furthers the dignity of work, offers sustainable income and provides an opportunity for meaningful work. Read more…




Financial Stability.

Faith & Finances Ally volunteer Jeff Moreland comments, “My biggest takeaway was to see how others deal financially with what they have been given.”

Marcelius Gordon outside Independent Bank after setting up his IDA in 2017. He is saving to establish his own business. He is currently working at EvaporCool.

Financial Stability.  Concerns about money top the stress chart making financial education a principal priority at Advance Memphis.  Our Faith & Finances course empowers our South Memphis neighbors to manage their hard-earned money in ways that can honor God and build stability by addressing budget, debt avoidance and expense tracking, among other key financial literacy principles.  We teach the life changing messages that Jesus is making all things new and that He wants to use our finances as a part of His kingdom work.  In the past 3 years, our number of graduates has doubled to 41 students in 2017.  In 2018, we offer a morning class in addition to our Thursday evening class. Read more…



Earn While You Learn


Meaningful work. Earn while you learn. Thanks to our partnership with Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) and MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, 14 adults became certified and graduated from Autonomous Maintenance Training(AMT) on March 8, 2018.  Each graduate has gained skills that can be stabilizing assets to help them earn a livable wage.  Learning a marketable skill furthers the dignity of work, offers sustainable income and provides an opportunity for meaningful work.

Read more


Meet Rhoda

Rhoda, like so many other graduates of Advance Memphis, has worked extremely hard to maintain a job in an under-resourced neighborhood where over 65% of people are not currently employed.

The newest board member at Advance Memphis is an old friend, a graduate of many Advance Memphis programs, and an important leader in her 38126 community (South Memphis).  Ms. Rhoda Baines recently agreed to join the Advance Memphis board, which culminates a relationship which spans years. Rhoda first came to Advance in 2012, when she participated in the Jobs for Life (now Work Life) class. She subsequently completed the Faith & Finances course and the IDA matched-savings account. Over the last few years, Rhoda has worked at FedEx and as a home health specialist.

In 2016, Rhoda found herself in a difficult living situation, to say the least. She lived in a house where the landlord would not pay to fix the broken heating system during the winter, and her family was affected by the presence of hazardous lead paint. Because of these issues, along with the lack of viable options in the neighborhood, she was forced to move away from her community.

Despite all of the challenging forces that kept her from being able to have a safe living space in her own neighborhood, Rhoda took active steps toward purchasing her own home. After a long process of saving, paying off debt, and building her credit, Rhoda was able to rent and finally purchase a home back in 38126 in May of 2017.  Currently Rhoda uses her home to host a weekly community group from her church, Downtown Presbyterian Church.

Rhoda is a hero to so many people in her family and neighborhood. Rhoda, like so many other graduates of Advance Memphis, has worked extremely hard to maintain work in an under-resourced neighborhood where over 65% of people are not currently employed. She bought a home in a neighborhood where only about 16% of homes are occupied by the owner and where many long-standing systemic forces make it particularly difficult for people to purchase homes.  In addition to providing a home for her family, Rhoda walked through numerous family trials over the past year and has remained a strong help for her loved ones.

We can’t tell Rhoda’s story without talking about two ladies who have become close friends with her over the years. Suzanne Greer was Rhoda’s Champion in her Jobs for Life class five years ago and Diane Davis initially got to know Rhoda as her GED tutor. These volunteer roles turned into long-lasting friendships for Diane, Suzanne, and Rhoda. Suzanne and Diane helped Rhoda navigate several difficult situations over the years and used their social capital to support the steps that Rhoda has worked hard to achieve. Likewise, Diane and Suzanne have each learned from and grown through their relationship with Rhoda, and all three have expressed deep gratitude and joy that the Lord allowed their paths to cross.

Advance Memphis desires more relational mentor volunteers like Suzanne and Diane.  These connections transform the lives of everyone involved.  Please consider partnering with us as a Work Life Champion or Faith & Finances Ally in our next classes.  Click here to volunteer.


Downtown Church’s Good Friday Message Catered by Elnora’s Angels

Elnora Angel’s Catering, one of Advance Memphis’ LAUNCH start-up businesses, is providing a southern home-cooked meal for Downtown Church’s Good Friday luncheon served with a Good Friday message: Embrace: A Pursuit of Love & Justice.  The event will be held at Clayborn Temple from 12 to 1pm on April 4, 2018. Cost is $10. Register here.


1,000 Pardons – The heart behind the art of Christopher Nadaskay

We believe that glorifying God in all we do is important, and are always delighted to work with others as they pursue their God-given talents and abilities.

So of course, we were thrilled to be approached by professor and artist Christopher Nadaskay about a project he had in mind, and his desire to use his gifts to benefit our work at Advance Memphis.

Last year, Prof. Nadaskay was an artist featured in our annual Art For Jobs fundraiser. He approached us shortly after about a solo installation and sale that he wanted to put together in support of us. In the span of just a few short months, he has created 1,000 individual pieces of art in the form of hand-made crosses.

In his artist’s statement, Nadaskay explains:

“The overarching principle behind the exhibit is the idea that an individual artist can and should produce work for the benefit of others. It is my intention that this exhibit is used for the betterment of anyone who sees it – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. The crosses are to be sold with the proceeds going directly to Advance Memphis.  It places art into the hands of a public who may never appreciate it as such and beauty into those same hands. It allows for the exploration of a huge number of creative visual problems and then helps to provide substance for those in need.

The idea for this exhibit/sale came from my desire to promulgate the concept of the social responsibility of the artist to the people that surround them in their particular segment of culture. The art world has become a place where political activism, influential social connections, and monetary gain direct the career paths of artists, to the detriment of the more positive influences that art can have on a culture. With this show, it is my intention to make art that is accessible to the average person, has a positive, hopeful message and from which the proceeds will directly be used to constructively impact society.  Each cross, in a sense, represents a pardon. This brought to mind a relatively common phrase in our culture ‘A thousand pardons,’ meaning ‘I beg your pardon;’ it is a quote that comes from a 1931 movie starring Charlie Chan (Black Camel).  It really has nothing to do with the movie, but as it was a little catchy and seemed appropriate to the message, the title was born.

The crosses are made in the same manner that I pursue my normal studio work, color and texture playing a huge role in their perception. It is only natural that influences from that artwork show up in a variety of ways in them.”

The artist would like to thank: Union University for its very generous support of the project through a teaching sabbatical grant, studio space, materials and kiln/firing time; Kathryn Pelley and Ragan Williamson, his studio assistants for the project – without whom much of this would not have been possible; and additional thanks should go to Crosstown Arts, Advance Memphis for their wonderful support and assistance in making the project a reality

We hope you will join us for the reception and sale of this monumental work on Thursday, March 30th, at Crosstown Arts. The event will be held from 4pm-9pm, pieces will be available for purchase for $15, and Chris Nadaskay will give a brief artist’s lecture. RSVP on Facebook

For more information, or to volunteer, please contact Bethany Stout at bethanyjoystout@gmail.com

About the Artist:
Christopher Nadaskay is an artist and Professor of Art at Union University where he has served for 24 years. He is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University and Texas A&M Commerce where he received his B.A. and M.F.A. in Painting/ Mixed Media respectively.  His mediums have included watercolor, oils, acrylics, mixed media and various sculpture mediums.  Working at the moment in mixed media/ceramic wall relief, he is interested in the relationship between technology and the human condition. He has works in several collections, including the Tennessee State Museum.


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


Top 10 Things to Know about Art for Jobs

10. 192+ pieces of art from 55+ artists!

Playful Bout | Jamin Carter

Playful Bout | Jamin Carter

…and we’re still working. Prices range from $20 to $4000, so there’s something for everyone. 7 artists have created 8×8 free-standing artist’s walls: some are murals, some feature as many as 12 pieces of art. We’ve cataloged some of the art here, much more is available!

9. Great food from local farmers.

collage-2016-09-10-1The chef team at A Moveable Feast is working closely with Bring It Food Hub to source produce from local farmers. Fresh veggies, fruits and dips will cure those after-work munchies while you browse.

8. The party’s in the warehouse.

29582716925_67df5a0f58_zA year ago, we bought a warehouse just blocks from our offices & classrooms. This year, Art for Jobs is happening there: 575 Suzette, 38126. Learn more about what we’re doing in this 24,000 square feet here.

7. Plenty of parking – including valet!

Want to park yourself? A parking lot is just across the street from the warehouse at 853 Crump Blvd, with police escorts to help you cross safely. Want to valet? Thanks to Art for Jobs sponsors Triumph Bank, we’ll also have the services of Southern Valet available, with fees & tip covered by Triumph!

6. Learn more about social enterprise.

ssamThere are a lot of crazy smart Memphians structuring their businesses in ways that turn a profit AND create opportunities for struggling neighborhoods and underemployed neighbors. See some of this in action at Art for Jobs. Sponsored by SouthernSun Asset Management, a local business that supports a stronger Memphis.

5. It’s a sale, not an auction!

Tijuana | Lacey Craig

Tijuana | Lacey Craig

Art for Jobs is a show and sale, not an auction. This means you don’t have to awkwardly try to outbid your friends (or that serious shopper who keeps blocking you out) AND it means an artist’s work won’t be undervalued. It also means first come, first serve – so see you at 5!

4. 30 Days of Opera Will Be There!

opera-giantIf you haven’t heard about Opera Memphis’s 30 days of totally awesome – totally FREE – performances, get ready to be impressed by these beautiful, creative folks. They’ll “pop up” at Art for Jobs. Be there!

3. Explore Memphis Tilth!

memphis-tilth-logo-1What’s a tilth? Take a few of Memphis’s great food and garden non-profits, add great people, and new offices in the Advance Memphis warehouse, and you’ll start to see the future of healthy food, people, and places in Memphis. Explore it all at Art for Jobs.

2. Proceeds benefit Memphians in 38126.

27426571472_5b9056252b_mAll of this benefits the people of 38126 who are seeking empowerment and hope through job readiness, financial literacy, job placement, counseling, and training. As these individuals become financially secure, so do their families – and the Memphis workforce becomes stronger, too. Join us!

1. It’s THIS Thursday!

afj-logo-2016Make plans now to be at Art for Jobs! We’ll be going strong from 5-8pm at 575 Suzette. You can see details on the website or the Facebook event page, where you can let us know you’ll be there. Get a sitter or bring the family – we look forward to seeing you!



Art for Jobs 2016 In-Kind Sponsors: Holliday Flowers & Events

15333307145_62d2d47420_zFor three years, Holliday Flowers & Events has provided priceless event assistance for Art for Jobs. We are grateful for their support of Advance Memphis. As you enjoy Art for Jobs on September 15, notice the flowers and event details that have been handled with excellence by Holliday!

Holliday LogoHolliday Flowers & Events provides custom floral and décor creation to the Mid-South region. Whether the occasion calls for a small bouquet, a number of beautiful centerpieces or custom-designed and created event decorations and furniture for large-scale events, Holliday Flowers & Events has the resources and experience to expertly take care of customers’ needs. With four locations throughout the Memphis area, as well as a design studio and large processing facility, Holliday Flowers & Events is convenient to customers throughout the region while still being devoted to remaining local.



Art for Jobs 2016 Artist: RACHEL RIEVES


This is Rachel Rieves’ third year participating in Art for Jobs. Rachel has also served as a volunteer at Advance Memphis; she and her husband Richard serve at Downtown Church and host our Thanksgiving Feast each year. This year, we’ve invited Rachel to create an Artist’s Wall. Read more about those here, and read an artist’s statement from Rachel, below. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

“I see color when I close my eyes and creating with those colors on a blank canvas is my passion. I have always enjoyed being creative from my childhood to present. I love color, pattern and texture as you will see in each of my paintings. I am inspired by the places I remember in my rr3childhood to each place my husband and I have lived since. From the deep south in Memphis, Tennessee to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I love painting from memories or old pictures that has always brought me joy and stability.”


Art for Jobs 2016 Artist: LACEY CRAIG

photo credit | julialouisestyle.com

photo credit | julialouisestyle.com


Lacey Craig | photo credit julialouisestyle.com

Lacey Craig is featured this year at Art for Jobs with an Artist’s Wall (read more about Artist’s Walls here).

Lacey works for the A Way Out program in Memphis and is passionate about seeing the lives of women who have been exploited and abused in prostitution restored through Jesus Christ. Lacey is an appreciator of art in many forms, and in her spare time loves to paint bright, cheerful, whimsical floral arrangements and landscapes.

28671675651_669ed0e971_b“I use bright colors, deep texture, and glossy finish to create playful, cheery acrylic paintings that add a little bit of energy and enthusiasm to your home. I am inspired by anything from the beauty of nature to a well-decorated home. I believe that flowers are some of the most spectacular things in the world, so you will find plenty in my work.”

See more of Lacey’s work on her Pinterest page or in Bingham & Broad, where her work is often sold. Learn more about Art for Jobs here.