Help us welcome our newest MSPJC Organizing Coordinator, Cassandra Smith!
Cassandra M. Smith is a Memphis Native and entrepreneur. She graduated from the Academy of Cosmetology and acquired her Cosmetology Licenses in1996 from the state of Tennessee and received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Memphis in May 2010. She worked as a licensed hairstylist as she started her own business Bowen 2b Beautiful and worked for Memphis City Schools after volunteering as a room mother in her oldest son’s first grade class. From 1998 to 2010 she worked as an educational assistant, from 2010 to 2015, she worked as a Parent Counselor and Community Liaison for Memphis City Schools and Gestalt Community Schools. From 2015-2017, she worked as an Office manager for Gestalt Community Schools. She recently joined the MSPJC team as a Neighborhood Organizer supporting the Whole Child Strategy in Klondike Smokey City.
The vision of the Whole Child Strategy is to make sure all children in Shelby County are on track to graduate from high school college or career ready. The Whole Child Strategy is focused on laying a strong foundation for children’s futures in the neighborhood that support them. Because Whole Child knows that children face considerable out of school barriers that keep them from learning, Whole Child is giving additional resources and partnering with service providers such as Communities in the Schools TN at Memphis, Family and Safety Center, Agape Child & Family Services, Seeding Success, Mid-South Peace & Justice Center and City Year Memphis in order to get children to school each day and ready to learn.
There are three priorities that the project focuses. Attendance, Discipline and Neighborhood Cohesion. To make this vision a reality, Whole Child is asking for the collaboration of parents, students, neighborhood residents, representatives from the school cluster, (Caldwell-Guthrie, Humes, and Manassas), business leaders/local community organizations and faith-based leaders to form a Neighborhood council. The council is responsible for identifying the needs of their neighborhood and creating a plan to address those needs. To extend extra support for the implementation of Whole Child, an implementation team made up of staff members from Seeding Success and Midsouth Peace and Justice Center that is comprised of a Facilitator, Meeting Specialist and Organizer who will work daily in the neighborhood that they serve.
The role as the Organizer from Mid-South Peace & Justice Center is to represent the MSPJC’s strategy and its mission to support the Whole Child Strategy; recruit a diverse range of participants to serve on the Neighborhood Council, ensuring representation from all neighborhood stakeholders; work closely with the Neighborhood Facilitator and Neighborhood Meeting Specialist from Seeding Success to facilitate the development of the Neighborhood Council through capacity building and training opportunities; execute a plan to engage, develop and assist local leaders to build long-term community engagement in Klondike Smokey City.