According to the census numbers, the 38126 zip code in Memphis is one of the poorest zip codes in our country. Smart City Memphis (smartcitymemphis.com) notes that 60.9% of the population living in the 38126 zip code lives below the poverty level; and sadly, “70% of Americans raised at the bottom never reach the middle (middle class).” The median household income in 38126 is only $10,734, which is significantly lower than the national average of $56,604. For some, these statistics might seem daunting; but for many organizations and individuals who see beyond the numbers, who see the character and potential of the people who live there, these are the very reasons they are doing everything in their power to help, to create change.
One such organization is Emmanuel Center Inc., founded in 1989 by the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee with the Reverend Colenzo Hubbard as the founding Executive Director. Targeting “at-risk” youth, grades kindergarten through high school, the Emmanuel Center is a safe haven serving over 700 kids daily through education, athletics, and spiritual guidance programs. Their after school programs consist of homework assistance, tutoring in Math, Science, and Reading, and Bible studies. The Center also has a chapel, a full kitchen, and gymnasium. Thanks to partners, like Memphis Athletic Ministries, Tennis Memphis, the Memphis Grizzlies, and Memphis Redbirds, Emmanuel Center’s Sports program goes year round offering football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, golf, softball, and T-ball.
When you look at the success the Emmanuel Center is having with youth living in the 38126 zip code, one shining statistic is 100 percent. That 100 percent is the graduation rate, over the last ten years, for Emmanuel Center students attending the local high schools. Reverend Colenzo Hubbard is the first to say that those stats are not just the result of hard work from the students and his team, but of the volunteers who share their love, time, and talents.
Consider seeing the impact firsthand and serving as a volunteer during Emmanuel Center’s Camp H.O.P.E. this June and July. Become a coach or play sports with the kids. During the school year, spend one day, Monday through Thursday from 3:30-5:30p tutoring or helping with homework. Be a part of the good taking place in 38126! Take the first step by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting emmanuelcentermemphis.org.