VOL. 130 | NO. 197 | Friday, October 9, 2015
Students Get Leadership Lessons With Sonima Tour
By LANCE WIEDOWER
Memphis-area students are getting a lesson in how to become tomorrow’s leaders with the Live Sonima Tour, a collaboration with the Sonima Foundation that allows young people to access the tools and inspiration necessary to become better students, leaders and individuals.
The Live Sonima Tour began its three-day stay in Memphis Oct. 7 and wraps up Friday, Oct. 9, with the SCS Destination 2025 Sonima Live Concert at The Orpheum Theatre from 9 a.m. to noon followed by an adult leadership session with author and businessman Stedman Graham at Shelby County Schools’ headquarters from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Caroline Jones and Graham lead the tour activities meant to inspire students, teaching them that their environment doesn’t have to dictate their futures.
“I firmly believe that the circumstances of our lives are influential, but they don’t determine our happiness,” said Jones on a Thursday morning appearance on News Channel 3’s “Live at 9” program. “It’s dangerous to suggest to students that just because of certain circumstances in their lives they don’t have a chance. That’s not true. There are so many examples to the contrary.”
Jones is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, radio show host, author and founder of The Heart is Smart Initiative, a curriculum and school tour that works to inspire and provide students a medium of expression through music. She also has a Memphis connection: Her father, Paul Tudor Jones, is a native Memphian.
“We’ve been all over the nation and soon all over the world,” Caroline Jones said. “It was a logical next step to come to Memphis.”
The Live Sonima Tour has worked with 135 schools and more than 130,000 students. The mission of the tour is to present concepts such as self-discovery and identity in the classroom or at home to students who aren’t normally exposed to them.
In 2014 the tour reached 60,000 students in 75 schools plus more than 100,000 faculty, parents and community members.
Jones opens the programming with a concert that is meant to inspire students through music while connecting them to their own potential. She performs an assortment of her original storytelling-based songs and classics from the American Songbook, blues and folk genres. The music is meant to teach students love and how to wake up happy.
Graham, who is chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, leads a student identity leadership workshop that teaches students their progress begins within by focusing on natural talent, passion, skills and purpose.
He also leads a workshop that explains how successful communities are built on individuals. Participants are challenged to identify strengths, talents and resources they can develop, and in turn, use to contribute toward the community.
S. Graham & Associates is a management and marketing consulting firm that specializes in the corporate and educational markets. Graham is the author of 11 books, including two New York Times bestsellers.
The Sonima Foundations offers health and wellness programs to schools and communities. It was founded in 2011, and serves more than 27,000 children in kindergarten through 12th grade across 55 schools in California, Florida, New York and Texas.