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Students Today…Leaders Forever!

On Thursday, March 17th, Memphis was invaded by red t-shirts. Those red t-shirts belonged to 300-350 college students all the way from Minnesota and North Dakota who came to Memphis during their spring break to volunteer at various sites around town. One particular site where all 350 students gathered after volunteering at sites around Memphis was Shelby Farms Park.

The students are part of a program called the Pay It Forward Tour, which is a multi-day, multi-city experience which engages students in service and leadership. The tour is organized through the Students Today Leaders Forever organization which promotes positivity, service to others and gives these students an opportunity to have a rewarding experience. The students travel to and provide service in a new city each day during their spring break, learning about social issues, building lasting relationships and making a commitment to continued action when they return home. All college Pay It Forward Tours travel to six cities across the country over the course of nine days. Each tour consists of up to 40 students and every tour is open to students from any school.

The group at Shelby Farms Park helped plant seedlings at the tree nursery and cleared the pine forest trails and the playground areas of privet and mulch tree rings on South Patriot. At noon, all the groups gathered together at the visitors’ center for a lunch provided by the Greater Memphis Chamber.

While the students enjoyed their lunch, Laura Adams, executive director of Shelby Farms Park, John Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, Reid Dulberger, vice president of MemphisED, Stephanie Bennett, marketing and communications of the Leadership Academy and Gwin Fisher, executive director of MPACT Memphis all spoke about what makes Memphis attractive to young professionals.

Among the assets mentioned were the Memphis Grizzlies, EmergeMemphis, the Shelby Farms Greenline, low cost of living, music and film scene, the leadership and community organizations, the Memphis Redbirds, the Memphis Tigers and the fantastic graduate programs among many others.

The students sang the speakers a thank you song and then enjoyed St. Patrick’s day out on Beale Street that evening.

Shelby Farms Park, MPACT Memphis, the Greater Memphis Chamber and the Leadership Academy are three of the sixteen partner organizations of the MemphisED plan.

The Memphis Economic Development (MemphisED) Plan serves as the economic development component of a broader economic growth initiative for Memphis/Shelby County called Memphis Fast Forward. MemphisED is led by the Greater Memphis Chamber. The plan is designed to ensure that both Memphis/Shelby County has a strong and diverse economy, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, and advance the region’s global leadership in the bioscience, music/film and logistics industries.

-- Christina Meek

Related Links:
To find out more about the STLF organization, visit:
To find out more about Shelby Farms Park, visit:
To find out more about MemphisED, visit:

Posted: 3/28/2011 9:09:02 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: chamber, community, ed, education, farms, green, memphis, shelby, STLF, students

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (