South Memphis elementary school opens family center

ByJessica Gertler
Image of KIPP Memphis family center from WREG newscast

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis charter school came up with a new way to help students and their families.

Kipp Memphis Preparatory Academy built a family center in the middle of the school using the city’s MLK50 grant.

It offers a washer and dryer, computers, printers, resume programs and more.

“It was always a dream we could have something like this, but we didn’t have the funds,” said Marisa Mender, the schools’ family, and community engagement coordinator.

The center also offers a clothing and food bank.

“When kids and families have what they need, whether that’s physically, emotionally and academically, they’re successful,” she said.

Mender said the school hopes to create a support system and inspire and build families.

“This is awesome to be able to come and use this,” said parent Deidre Lathan. “It’s just a blessing. It’s so good to have a school to think of a student once they leave home.”

The funding for the family center came from the city’s MLK-50 grant program, money handed out to organizations, schools, and non-profits wanting to keep Dr. King’s dream alive.

“This to me is all about economic justice. We are making it easier for our families to have access to clean clothes and also look for jobs and better jobs. I really think this is something Dr. King would approve of,” said Mender.

The family center will be officially open after spring break.