"I moved from Mexico to the United States 29 years ago and have lived in Memphis for eleven years. Six years ago, I started a Spanish newspaper called La Raza. It began small, but it's grown larger; every day we get more business. It's a full-sized paper, comes out every Friday, and is written completely in Spanish. We try to help out the Spanish-speaking community in any way we can. For example, when someone dies, the newspaper attempts, to the best of our ability, to connect the family to funeral companies. We also help the family contact the Mexican Embassy to arrange for the body to be shipped back to Mexico."
Maria Guevara, Founder and CEO of La Raza Newspaper
"The meaning of my shirt? I'm the king of my own body and spirit, my own temple. If you can't be the king of yourself, then what's the point?"
"Memphis is a blank slate. Nobody has really set the bar, so if you have an idea and you put it out there, you can get the exposure. That's not true in a lot of places. Memphis is a tough market with a lot of cultural and regional obstacles, but if you can make your ideas work here, you can make them work anywhere. Small drops make big ripples."
CASH for GOLD (below):
Hey! Can I be in the picture too?
Kyle Taylor, Artist & Graphic Designer
"I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I've learned a few things too. I've learned to be thankful for what I have, and I've learned not to be so quick to complain. I've learned that I have to make different choices to have different outcomes. I want to do something with my life and become the man I was meant to be. Someday I'd like to work as a counselor and help keep kids off the streets."
"When I grow up I want to be a doctor at St. Jude so I can help the kids who are having surgery and make their lives as good as ours."
“My interest in Japan started with the Kung Fu movies I watched when I was a little kid, maybe 5 or 6 years old. Later on, I studied martial arts and then developed an even deeper interest through world history classes in school. I loved Japanese architecture, the history of the Samurai, and the way the people of that country carried themselves. I'd always wanted to visit but was afraid of flying, so I had to build up my nerve by taking short trips. Then this spring, I finally got a chance to go. I went with only $700 in my pocket, but I made it work. I stayed three months with a friend who lives in Makahari, and a couple of times a week I’d go in to Tokyo. There’s so much to see there. I also got a chance to visit Mt. Fuji and Nikko’s historic temples and shrines. The trip far exceeded my expectations.
“It’s one thing to see Japan in a movie, but to actually be there was amazing. I probably took 20,000 photographs. I’m working now on putting together a photo book of the moments that touched me on this trip, and I've started a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. I want people to see and feel the beauty I experienced there.”
If you are interested in helping Adarryl Jackson make his photo book a reality, you can contribute through his The Japan I Love Kickstarter campaign.
"A couple of years ago we went out west for the first time, and a lot of what we have in here was inspired by the classic Americana we saw along the way. We have all kinds of stuff: vinyl records, a Rockola juke box, small RCA TVs, a Lucky Ace pinball machine. We opened the store about five months ago and for a while we were living in the middle of all the junk, but we finally started doing well enough to get our own place. Living where you work is not as great as it sounds. On our days off, or if we were closed, we might still be in our pajamas and people would be looking in the windows or knocking on the door."
Broken Arrow Thrift Store is located at 522 S. Main.
“I’m 22 years old, work at Fed Ex, attend Southwest, and am volunteering this summer with Girls of Grit. It’s a positive, inspiring outlet that gives high school girls an opportunity to network and learn about various organizations in the community. I have custody of my 14-year-old sister; she went through the program last summer and is attending again this summer. I saw what a difference it made in her life, and I wanted to get involved in helping to provide opportunities not only for her but for other girls too. I've only lived in Memphis for a couple of years, so this is also helping me get to know the community a little better."
"Where are you from originally?"
"Anchorage, Alaska. The weather here is a lot different than I expected. The winters are colder than I thought they would be, and it's hard to believe how hot it can get in the summer."
"My dad is a professor, a mentor, and a great teacher in all respects. I've learned a lot from him, and I'm very thankful for all he's done for us. He's traveled extensively throughout his life and has always modeled friendships for us across lines of ethnicity, religion, and age. Those values are ones I try to teach my own son and daughter. There's a great deal of violence in the world, but if we can break down those barriers and build friendship and respect for each other, we can live in peace."
Ashif Jahan, Construction Projects Manager for Facilities at The University of Memphis
"As a junior and senior in high school, I knew I was expected to go to college, but I had almost no guidance about the whole process. I don’t recall any adult ever talking with me about my interests or aptitudes. I barely remember who our high school guidance counselor was. I was facing life-altering decisions but had no direction at all; I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I got one college brochure in the mail, and that was it. Even after I enrolled as a freshman, I was directionless and wasted a lot of time trying to figure out my path. I considered becoming a physical therapist because I met one and thought the job was cool, but I wasn’t very good at math or science. I went to massage therapy school and got my license, but that wasn’t satisfying for me either. I knew I wanted to help other people somehow, to give back, but I didn’t know how to choose a field that would allow me to do that and was a good fit for my abilities. It took me 11 years to finish my undergraduate degree.
"I realize how much the right kind of guidance would have helped me, and that’s why I’m so invested in the work I do now with The College Initiative. We go into high schools and help students navigate the college selection and application process. We work with them on increasing their ACT and SAT scores, help them find scholarships to pay for their education, and help them choose a college that is a good fit for them so that they will not only attend, but will stay and graduate. We provide tutoring, offer AP courses, help students write college application essays and personal statements, and take students on college visits, all free of charge. We’re in constant contact with our students through texts, emails, and personal interaction.
"There are many very bright students in Memphis who have no idea how to navigate the college search and application process or how they would pay for higher education even if they were accepted. We help them find answers to those questions. Guidance counselor positions in schools are being cut, so there’s an even greater need for this kind of help now than there was in the past. We have to bridge that gap. We have to help our kids."
Melinda Lejman is Special Projects Officer with the non-profit organization The College Initiative.
High school students who are interested in applying to The College Initiative program may contact Melinda at ---
Read the interview with Gabriel, Founder and CEO, at http://www.connectingmemphis.com/memphis/gabriel