Inspiring Nominations from The SPARK Awards 2019

 Inspiring Nominations from The SPARK Awards 2019

Over the last two weeks, we’ve been sharing some of the inspiring nominations submitted by the public for our annual WKNO televised awards show, The SPARK Awards. The show honors individuals and organizations making a difference in our community. The SPARK Awards 2019 is available for viewing online at or, but since we could only feature 13 stories during the broadcast, let’s wrap this series up by sharing a few more heartwarming nominations that came in. Once again, these were not honorees, but they easily could have been; and their efforts deserve to be spotlighted. The quotes below were taken directly from the public nominations, and I hope they will inspire you, as they’ve inspired me.


“For the past five years Derrick Patterson has been a volunteer at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library where he faithfully puts books in order, files microfilm, teaches chess, and entertains customers in the children's department. Because of Mr. Patterson's dedication and hard work citizens have better access to library materials and are able to learn valuable recreational skills. Mr. Patterson is also a dedicated cosplay volunteer who routinely participates in events at Ronald McDonald House, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, Hope Church, and Autism Resources of the Mid-South. Mr. Patterson is always kind and gentle to the young people he works with which has a positive impact on their lives. Through his many volunteer activities Mr. Patterson has made a significant contribution to building a better Memphis community.”


Sophia Fils-Aime has spent her entire professional life serving Memphis youth, and building up programming to ensure our city has a more just and equitable future. After serving as a Teach For America corps member and teaching at Trezevant High School, she joined staff at LITE Memphis. She is now in her 3rd year serving as the Program Director. Over the time she's helped launch over 100 ventures created by high school students in the city. She also engages actively in our community, volunteering for organizations like Streets Ministries, STS Enterprises and her local church. Sophia's enduring passion for equity, impact and leadership have helped pave the way for the next generation of

entrepreneurs and leaders in the city.”

“Started shortly after Hurricane Katrina sent thousands of refugees to DeSoto County, Heartland Hands has been feeding the hungry across Southaven and the surrounding area for over fourteen years. Every week, over 75 area volunteers come together to give around $500 worth of free food and goods to each hungry DeSoto County family; impacting over 22,000 people monthly on average. These items are donated from local individuals, businesses, and churches, Kroger and Walmart stores, and area distribution warehouses like Grainger…”



“Founded in 1978 by Dr. JoeAnn Ballard and her late husband Monroe Ballard, Neighborhood Christian Centers (NCC) started out as a grass-roots organization providing compassionate emergency services addressing critical needs of neighbors including food, clothing, furniture and shelter. Under the evolving leadership of Ephie Ballard Johnson, NCC has continued her family's legacy of service. NCC has grown into an organization serving over 55,000 neighbors annually in over 40 of the most economically challenged zip-codes within the Memphis metropolitan area. With its Compassionate Christmas Outreach program, over 10,000 food baskets are distributed annually with the help of over 400 volunteers. While NCC remains committed to meeting the critical needs of its neighbors, it additionally provides strategic educational programs creating opportunities to help individuals and families move from poverty and crisis into lives of productivity and stability founded on faith and Christian values…”



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