Memphis Daily News
A ‘Blue Streak’ Of Kindness
March 10, 2016
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald
There is a place where the struggles of Memphis in overcoming crime, blight, poverty, hunger and a myriad of societal ills meets those who are driven by a purpose in life that goes beyond oneself, a need to do the right thing, and who use their talents, skills and wisdom to change Memphis for the better.
I believe that it is they, these Good Samaritans on the banks of the Mississippi, who will define Memphis, not as a city ridden with crime, but rather as a city of hope, focused on a better life for all its citizens.
There is an entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in Memphis that includes not only the business sector, but also those who create nonprofit ventures involved in outreach, community activism and programs that address the needs of an underserved population.
They experience all the trials of any startup in defining their mission, developing effective strategies to meet the financial goals for sustainability, and implementing the organizational structure to carry out their mission. There are many, each with a unique and compelling story of the positive impact they make on our community. I am grateful for all.
Thirteen years ago I met with a handful of young men when I was superintendent of Catholic Schools in Memphis. They wanted to know how they could help with the Jubilee Schools, long-closed inner-city Catholic schools located in our city’s most challenged ZIP codes that were being reopened to serve a population in poverty.
They had visited one of the schools where their fellow alum, Di Aur, was principal. They had young families, no surplus income, but a strong desire to help.
They decided to raise a $4,000 scholarship each year to help one child receive an education at a Jubilee School. I was moved by their outreach to the children. With that, the Blue Streak Scholarship Fund (bluestreakmemphis.net) was created by Tom Dorian, Chuck Schaffler, David Reynolds, Kevin Callahan, Steve Fracchia and Di Aur.
What started out in 2003 as a good idea turned startup by a small group of area Catholic school alumni, Blue Streak, a grassroots project, has grown to include hundreds of members from all sectors of the community and has raised more than $1 million in a variety of creative ways, like Taste of Jubilee on April 22, to support the students in the Jubilee Schools.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization,” said Di Aur, now head of school at Memphis Catholic and current president of Blue Streak. “The Blue Streak families work together to help the Jubilee Schools and experience the important impact service can have on both the giver and receiver. We are doing all of this because we know that education is a solution for poverty, crime and hopelessness.”
And I know that entrepreneurial ventures like Blue Streak are among those Good Samaritans on the banks of the Mississippi that are changing Memphis for the better.
Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit mcd-partners.com