By: Taylor McPherson, Director of Communications and Community Engagement
If there is one thing the pandemic has reaffirmed for us as we near the one-year mark since lockdowns began, it’s that our mission partners are more determined and resolute than ever to benefit their communities. One such organization who continues to “fight the good fight” is Knowledge Quest.
Knowledge Quest has been a valued and esteemed mission partner of our family of companies for more than 5 years now. During this time, we have been honored to witness the impact the social change agent has provided to South Memphis families and the community at large. After opening its doors in 1998, they have spent the last 23 years engaging with residents and responding to needs by providing access to health, paving opportunities for families, stabilizing homes, and more.
One priority at the top of the list for Knowledge Quest this year is to see more progress in their partnership with Best Buy to open a Teen Tech Center. At the start of 2021, they have raised nearly half of the funds needed to get the ball rolling. Once built, the center will provide a free, interactive learning space for middle school and high school students, grades 7-12. Participants will be given access to tools to learn how to use and explore technology with mentor guidance, equipping them with valuable skills for a future career path.
“We’re really trying to get individuals who may not be a part of this to get involved,” said Marlon Foster, Executive Director. Those looking to show their support through funding can make a one-time donation or pledge a total for the year to pay in monthly installments.
However, once built, another huge component of the success of the Teen Tech Center will also be through the support of volunteerism. Those with skillsets in anything from STEM, photography, videography, drones, desktop publishing, and visual/digital arts can give of their time and talent to impact the next generation of our brightest and best youth. Other opportunities include a “Makers Section” where skills in sewing and creation of items, such as hats, will be taught. Lastly, we wouldn’t be Memphis without our love of a good tune: Students will also have access to a Music Studio.
Volunteers can also offer their time and expertise in a number of other ways as warmer weather is just around the corner. Opportunities are available both virtually and in person, abiding by COVID health and safety recommendations. “As we get into the spring, there are still volunteer opportunities around Green Leaf Farm,” remarked Marlon. “Actually, in March and April we’ll be doing some harvesting.” On the farm, KQ students and community members learn how to grow food in ways that build community and increase the neighborhood’s access to healthy goods – all on a 2/3-acre urban micro farm that sits directly across from the main KQ campus. “Also, if anyone wanted to get involved with the virtual equipping of students – whether that be culinary or in the classrooms – that’s also another way to help,” said Marlon.
We eagerly look ahead to all of the positive impact that the movers and shakers at Knowledge Quest will bring to the community this year.
*Video courtesy of Knowledge Quest and Watch Love Work