VOL. 126 | NO. 114 | Monday, June 13, 2011
A Quest for Knowledge
Last week, we spotlighted the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief, which is the first comprehensive bereavement center for children, adolescents and adults in the region. This week we will explore an organization working to “vigorously equip youth to maximize their potential through intellectual and character development”: Knowledge Quest.
Founded in 1995 by Marlon Foster, Knowledge Quest serves as a community change agent for youth and families, primarily in the 38126 and 38106 ZIP codes of Memphis. These two ZIP codes make up some of the city’s highest rates in poverty, school drop-outs, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, gang activity and youth violence.
Foster made the decision to dedicate his life to the development of inner-city youth within his neighborhood after witnessing the death of his childhood best friend due to street violence. He is a shining beacon of how to lead by example and how to be a part of the solution by continuing to live, work and worship in this same neighborhood.
Knowledge Quest began with the premise of youth development and has quickly evolved into an organization that is focused on building a stronger community by “building” the people within the community. Their center, located at 590 Jennette Place, is a central connection for businesses, churches, schools and households. They offer two primary after-school programs for students grades Pre-K through 8th, a School-Age and Teenage Academy. Both focus on intellectual and character development through experiential learning, as well as the cultivation of artistic talents.
Their School-Age Academy uses “adventure education” methodology and offers daily tutoring, academic and cultural enrichment activities for 2 hours and 45 minutes daily, 40 weeks out of the year. Their Teenage Academy incorporates sport activities with the hands-on projects and is designed to keep the kids off the streets and positively influenced from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Extracurricular activities include such things as piano, chess, choir and Spanish. Both programs are open enrollment and non-fee-based with astounding statistical results.
What impresses me most about Marlon Foster and Knowledge Quest, beyond the heart and the amazing results that they are generating with youth and adults in our community, is that they indeed take a holistic approach to being an example and a part of the solution. They make it mandatory for parents to participate each week with their children, so that they are teaching character and relationship-building not only to the youth, but to the families as a whole. They incorporate every aspect of their community and serve as the glue that binds to help guide everyone down the right path in their lives.
I encourage you to learn more by visiting www.kqmemphis.org or calling 942-1512. Consider touring their center, volunteering or contributing financially to their effort. If nothing else, consider emailing Marlon and his team a note of thanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at email@example.com.