MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dreams keep memories alive. That's the sentiment that a CEO of a local radio station seems to be echoing by continuing the work that he started with the late DJ Smooth and launching a new program at "99 Da Mixx."
As local organizations and community members attempt to reduce crime involving youth, so too does Power 99 Da Mixx with an after-school mentorship program.
Starting in February, the station will provide youth with opportunities to help avoid trouble.
“The youth don’t have anything going on right now," Deonta Hampton said. "There's a lot of crime. ... Basically, what they need is guidance.”
Guidance is what Hampton's friend DJ Smooth still provides to him.
"Smooth motivated me a lot," Hampton said. "He still motivates me. When I get up, I see this [lanyard] and I say, ‘Man, Smooth what am I going to do?’ He says you know what to do."
Hampton, or DJ Storm, started the station with Smooth in 2019. In 2019, DJ Smooth died from a heart attack.
“Everywhere I go, I take him with me,” Deonta Hampton said. “We had dreams.”
Hampton refuses to let those dreams fade.
Hampton had to keep the dream going. It was a dream to give back and mentor youth — one he realized as a volunteer probation officer with Shelby County Juvenile Court.
“If only they would have had somebody who could stop them, who could talk to them, who could be there for them,” Hampton said.
The program will start with four kids a month for the first six months.
“We’re going to mentor them," Hampton said. "We’re going to come in and teach them radio. We’re going to teach them broadcasting. We’re going to teach them photos and things of that nature. We want to teach you entertainment. We want to teach you management skills.”
The students will also get a chance to interview local celebrities as well.
“The youth are the future. If I can reach them now, they may be running this business seven, eight years from now,” said Hampton.
It is an opportunity that gives youth a chance to dream on their own. If you would like to support or participate in the program, you can contact Power 99 at email@example.com.