BRIDGES empowering youth to make a difference and be leaders

Evan Morrison
University of Memphis
Housing and Community Development Fellow
Master’s Candidate – Regional and City Planning
My fellowship with BRIDGES is a twofold position. In one, I serve as a Bridge Builder Change facilitator; in the other, I serve as a community action coordinator. BB Change is a representative group of highly dedicated youth looking to make a difference in the social fabric of Memphis. The twenty-two students, eleven focused on community action while the other eleven seek change through media and technology, are all a joy to work. It’s exciting to see their passion, and to empower them in any way I can. Most of us met for the first time only a few months ago, but if you were to walk into one of our Change meetings, you wouldn’t sense that the bonds we have now are only newly formed. The Changers have only recently chosen the issues they will be tackling this year, and I am excited to see the difference we can make. One of their first accomplishments of the year is this video that seeks to fight the negative perception of youth in the media. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNKp3GxsyXE&feature=youtu.be
 
My second position as a community action coordinator is just as exciting. At BRIDGES, we are empowering youth to be leaders in their community, change agents that address the social issues that so desperately need our attention. Our community action days provide opportunities for the youth we serve to get invested in various communities around Memphis, and to see firsthand what kind of impact they can have to make a difference. Many of our community action days start with service, but we make it clear that the service is not what makes it community action. Community action is a mindset, a state of being that pushes you to seek the betterment of your surroundings. Sometimes this change is through service, but it might be through education, or advocacy, or even community organizing. With our community action days we use service to introduce the issue, be it environmental justice, or intergenerational relationships, but then equip them with tools to continue their involvement with the issue, showcasing ways to be a leader in each of the areas of change. ​
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