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City leaders create a free program for young people to help them further their education or create a new career path

The Opportunity R3 program teaches those who are 16 to 24-year-old to rethink, rebuild and rebrand themselves.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Here in Shelby County, leaders have brought a special program for young people to help further their education and get jobs. 

This is part of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration’s direct attempt to decrease crime.

Leaders said the county was able to fund this project with the federal dollars from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Memphis Police Department, young people between ages 16 and 24 account for a large percentage of the crime that happens here in Memphis, mainly because there is a need for more resources.

The Opportunity R3 program started seven months ago, and one participant, a 23-year-old single mother of two, talked about her success story.

“I’m the type of person…I like to sign up for everything. I like to sign up for all types of programs if it’s going to help me out. At the time I wasn’t actually working,” Resident Tierra Taylor said.

Little did she know, that just another ‘sign up’ would lead to personal mentorship, career development and a job with the Department of Human Services. Taylor said this is just the beginning.

“I like to do locks, but instead of wasting all that time, they put you right in the field and do hands on work. Some people, all they need is for people to believe in them,” Taylor expressed.

The Opportunity R3 program, was created for young people who are between 16 and 24 years old. The program teaches participants to rethink, rebuild and rebrand themselves.

“The last event I went to, it was about helping build entrepreneurs. Ooo I loved that. I loved that a lot and…it was free. They give you Uber rides if you got transportation issues,” Taylor explained.

Program Director Ken Moody said they will even pay a $250 weekly stipend to those who are not enrolled in school or working to learn how to get a job or create a better career path.

“We let them tell us what their interest was, and then we went out and found an opportunity for them in that particular field,” Moody said.

He added that they want to help as many people as possible in hopes of curving crime.

“We’ve had about 71 participants to come through the program since we’ve started. We’re probably having about a 70% success rate and for us, that’s extremely good,” Moody stated.

Moody said the program provides people with mentorship, workshops on interviewing, writing your resume, workplace etiquette, and it’ll even have you shadow in your desired career field.

All you have to do is fill out an application. You can do that by clicking here or going to an information session on Friday morning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Benjamin Hooks Public Library on Poplar Avenue.

Moody said they are also accepting mentors. You can send an email to opportunity@memphistn.gov 

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