Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Advance Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Advance Memphis

By Ursula Madden - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis ministry is teaching members of its community about money matters, and just as importantly, providing jobs.

Steve Nash started Advance Memphis 11 years ago.  Eight times per year, the ministry takes 20 adults at a time through a six week course on fiscal responsibility.

"We do soft skills job training, financial literacy, computer literacy, we have a GED component, and we do work keys testing," Nash said.

Classes go from 9pm to 3pm, Monday through Friday, and it's tough to get in.  Jennifer Williams, for instance, waited two years.

"The classes, when I started, it was kind of hard," she said. "Maybe it was my attitude. I had a real bad attitude. But as I started coming, I started changing. It started opening me up, and I realized having a bad attitude - you wouldn't be able to get nowhere in life."

Williams completed the course in April. For her, and all the other graduates it means employment, and a way to plan for the future.

"I knew about money, but I didn't know how to budget," graduate Coshalyn Brice said. "That's what I wanted to learn, because I just spend, spend, spend, so I wanted to learn how to save and budget my money."   

Brice is going back to school to study nursing this winter, while Williams wants to own her own hair salon.

Nash says many Advance Memphis students have some trouble in their background, sometimes criminal, but that is not what is most important.

"Those are our neighbors, and we care deeply for our neighbors," he said. 'We believe that all mankind are made in God's image, and we affirm and uphold that dignity."

Demand to be in the program is so large, people line up overnight to submit their application.  Advance Memphis is now moving to a lottery system to avoid the long lines.

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