MEMPHIS, Tennessee — A newly built YMCA in Whitehaven will act as a safe haven for the community.
The Davis YMCA has served the Whitehaven community for decades and in 2022 the Georgette and Cato Johnson YMCA will replace it.
For young people like Kimmy Morgan, a brief ride to the “Y” meant a chance to do activities like swimming, basketball and dance with her peers. The lessons learned there translated into adulthood.
“Always teaching us how to conduct ourselves with integrity you know daily especially with each other,” said Morgan.
The YMCA also launched Teen Achievers, a program designed for academic development in youth.
“They also taught us back then how to write a business plan,” said Morgan. “I’m a business owner now so I still think back to things like that.”
“I was one of the first kids who ended up in that program and they took us around the country,” said Devante Hill, who worked as a lifeguard at the Whitehaven location. “Took us to different HBCUs and other institutions of higher learning.”
The Johnson YMCA will also have an indoor pool. Morgan believes the new facilities will play a pivotal role in enriching the community and providing a safe haven for kids and their families.
“I think it’s going to be amazing,” Morgan said. “I think it’s going to be a great asset to the community especially with the students being right there being able to have access to things they may not have access to at home.”
“I think that Whitehaven can be the leading example of what a YMCA could be in a neighborhood,” Hill said. “A YMCA in North Memphis, or a YMCA in Frayser, or a YMCA in Whitehaven could save a child’s life and I’m a prime example of that.”