MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Many of our Mid-South Heroes get energized by fulfilling a community need.
Our June hero is no different, dedicating every moment to bringing smiles to children and the elderly.
Being a charitable giver was never a choice for LaShay Pena, it's always been a way of life.
After years of volunteering for other organizations in the Mid-South, Pena decided to follow her own dream in 2018 and inspire others to be enchanted.
She started Enchanted, an organization focused on the under-served and forgotten.
"Our purpose is to uplift and embrace the community through charitable giving. Our primary focus is to provide tangible support and enrichment activities and social events for the youth and elderly,” said Pena.
Enchanted's events occur quarterly with Hats and Hoodies and Winter Wonderland happening in the fall and winter.
“We go out to various schools or locations, like community centers, where we provide hats, gloves for the children in need. In the wintertime, we do the Winter Wonderland event. And that’s when we give away tons of toys. We have a bike drive, food and festivities for children ages 2-12 years old,” said Pena.
In the spring and summer, they get children excited about Dr. Seuss Literacy Day and the elderly ready for the annual Senior’s Prom.
“This year’s theme is the Casino Royale. So we’ll go in, they’ll walk in on a red carpet, they’ll dress up. There’ll be lots of games and food,” said Pena.
Each event reminds participants that they, too, are worthy of celebration. Like Mrs. Beatrice Humphreys, or Mrs. Bee, who was crowned queen at last year’s Senior Prom event.
"Oh, we had a great time. We danced, we ate, we taken pictures, we walked the red carpet and it was just exciting. Very exciting,” said Humphreys.
Making unforgettable memories is all part of Pena's mission to provide a sense of place and inclusion. Removing the barriers of affordability and replacing them with access.
Pena says none of it would be possible without ample support from family, friends and the community.
Volunteers Kevin Smith and Stephanie Gatewood say that Pena’s enduring spirit is contagious and it’s what keeps them coming back to help.
"Her spirit is amazing. You can tell that she is led by God in a lot of things that she do. So, that's what drew us into LaShay,” said Smith. “She never gets tired. She has the gift of bringing people together. So, a lot of the things she's done not only comes from donations but also out of her own pocket."
LaShay Pena, thanks to your mission to provide support to the under-served, you are this month’s Mid-South Hero.
If you know someone worth of the title Mid-South Hero, click here to nominate.