Blazers & Pearls 

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Leadership Development

Blazers & Pearls

The Blazers and Pearls program offers low-income students ages 12-19 the opportunity to expand their horizons by empowering them to build positive self-respect through group mentoring in the Mid-South. Our focus is social emotional learning, conflict resolution and preparation for college and career readiness.

Our program includes workshops with previous students from Shelby County Schools and Memphis Ambassador Program participants, focused on mentoring students, goal setting, bullying prevention, job readiness skills including interviewing techniques, dress for success, resume building, college application preparation, and sustaining employment through leadership.

Our programs were successfully implemented at Manassas High School, Humes Academy, Grandview MS, Fairly HS, Hillcrest HS, Wooddale MS, Kirby MS and DuBois MS. Participating students are selected by counselors who determine that students meet all of the requirements: must maintain a cumulative minimum 2.5 GPA scale, and no serious disciplinary sanctions at their current school in the past 365 days.

We partnered with the Hollywood Library to provide students across the city with Teen Talk Sessions that featured various speakers from the community, informing them about such topics as birth control, college readiness, entrepreneurship, bullying awareness and leadership skills.

We provided students with Blazers and Pearls to aid in their dress for success, and presentation when seeking interviews and employment. We purchased 100 blazers and 100 pearl necklaces for students (over 2-year span, in partnership with the Wal-Mart Foundation.)

Under the Blazers and Pearls umbrella, UCAN of Memphis’ programming is broken down into three areas:

  • Middle School – In-school mentoring, character building and bullying prevention
  • High School – In-school mentoring, workforce/leadership development, soft skills training
  • Summer Opportunities – Real Talk group discussions, the annual Dare 2 Dream Youth Conference


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