Cutting-edge academy helps children in high risk areas - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cutting-edge academy helps children in high risk areas

By Joe Birch - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - At Brinkley Heights Urban Academy, children learn computer skills in a cutting edge classroom.  But the school on Rosamond Avenue is far from a high price prep school.

"We're trying to reach the highest risk children in the community," said Pastor Tim Cox.

Cox has led the successful effort to expand the urban academy, but he is first to credit others.

"Churches, corporate, government, everybody," said Cox.  "Foundations, everybody joining hands together."

Eight years ago, few would have predicted any promise for the children of Rosamond.  An argument about a drug deal led to a wild shootout that injured nine people, including four children.  Two-year-old Jessica Borner was killed.

Instead of running away, Cox and a dedicated team of supporters from the city and suburbs lavished love, resources, time and attention on Rosamond residents.

"If you can build relationships with the community, with the families and with the children, that's where I think it all comes together," said Cox.

Tiffany Najerda has three children attending Brinkley Heights, even though she lives near a city school.  Seventy percent of the parents of Brinkley Heights students are intimately involved in helping the school and their kids succeed.

"Without this school, without this gym, a lot of these kids would be involved in drugs, involved in gangs," said Najerda.  "On the street doing whatever it is they're not supposed to be doing.  Whereas with this school being here, with this gym being here, we keep them off the streets."

Cox said faith comes first at Brinkley Heights.  The school focuses on spiritual as well as academic and physical growth for its students.  A huge investment of time is made building relationships with the people of Rosamond Avenue.  After first exploring their needs, the wider community gets invited to the table.

To learn more about Brinkley Heights Urban Academy, click here.

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