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How the South City organization SCORE is building up Memphis' future leaders

"The closer we get to that bullseye, the more we score with the residents and impact them,” said Rebecca Hutchinson, SCORE Executive Director.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sometimes, to achieve the change we want to see, we have to do the work ourselves.

That is what the community in South Memphis is doing to address violence, change policies, and uplift each other.

The group SCORE is aimed at building community leaders.

A win isn’t defined by a defeat, but rather the successes in the endeavor.

“We’re about working, not just complaining, but developing some solutions that are resident-based,” said Rebecca Hutchinson, SCORE Community Development Corporation Executive Director.

In South City, Memphis, it is residents such as Rebecca Hutchinson and Betty Isom who turn gains into victories.

“Who knows better what’s needed in our neighborhoods than the people who live there, the people who work there, the people who go to school there,” asked Hutchinson. 

She founded SCORE.

“SCORE stands for South City, a community of opportunity, revitalization, and empowerment,” said Hutchinson.

SCORE is an organization helping to build community leaders through their three-month leadership academy.

“Often times, residents don’t know where to go for the answer. They don’t know who to connect with. What SCORE does is try to connect them with those resources, try to help connect them with their local government,” said Hutchinson.

Participants create community projects in hopes of enforcing the change they want to see. For program participant, Betty Isom, it is the violence she wants to change. 

“This violence is something different this year,” said Isom. “This community is really important to me because back in the day, Claiborne Homes... all the drugs, stuff was going on. Now, they’re doing killing. I want to try to help people.”

Isom hosts a Stop the Violence Block Party as her project. 

“It was really nice how people could come together and do things, love on one another with all this violence that’s going on,” said Isom.

Each participant has a different project they facilitate. They also receive resources and a stipend to see the projects to the end.

“We are hitting the bullseye, making a difference. We may not always do it exactly right or how other people may think it should be done, but the closer we get to that bullseye, the more we score with the residents and impact them,” said Hutchinson. Each score is its own victory towards the end goal.

Isom’s annual Stop the Violence Block Party takes place Saturday, June 11th, from 3pm to 8pm on Tate Avenue.

Credit: SCORE

SCORE is welcoming new participants this weekend at the Cornelia Crenshaw Library at 6pm.

Credit: SCORE

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