National magazine draws attention to Memphis improvement program

National magazine draws attention to Memphis improvement program
(Source: Politico Magazine, Mark Peterson)
(Source: Politico Magazine, Mark Peterson)

(WMC) - Politico Magazine is introducing the country to a program in Memphis that's improving the city.

It's called Memphis Family Rewards Program, and Politico points out that the program provides hope for families reliant on the government.

Memphis mayor A C Wharton tells the magazine he's looking for solutions even if they are non-traditional.

Thanks to a mix of federal grants and donations, a carefully selected group of 600 Memphians get paid for doing what many would consider mundane responsibilities. For example, showing up to work, going back to school, making good grades, and going to the doctor for regular checkups.

"The Memphis Family Rewards Program is based in part on the realization that the present programs we have are not really accomplishing what we are expecting. We've seen that it does not work simply by saying here's a check. People really want to feel productive. That they earned what they are getting," Mayor Wharton said.

Critics point to the program and ask why we should reward people for doing things that they should already be doing as productive members of society.

Young Americans enrolled in the program say it helps them earn extra money while learning life lessons. "When I grow up and get a job I have to work for the money. That's what it taught me. To work in school."

For Memphians, the Politico article goes beyond explaining this program, it provides an opportunity to hear what an outsider has to say after spending time in some of our toughest areas.

Click here to read the full article and learn more about a similar program in the Bronx.

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