Stepping Up: Frayser non-profit hopes to create jobs, build safe space for community

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - At the intersection of Frayser Boulevard and North Watkins Street sits a vacant lot.

Though empty, Charlie Caswell hopes it will soon be filled with dreams big enough for the entire Frayser community.

“One of the things about creating resiliency in the community is creating a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment,” Caswell said.

And that was one of the driving factors behind the creation of “Legacy Plaza” -- a three-story multi-purpose space with a wellness center, health clinic, small business incubator, credit union and restaurant.

It’s something Caswell says it vital to helping Frayser thrive.

“When you add the fact that the many of our children just went through a year of the pandemic as all of us have, but there was an epidemic before the pandemic, we’re talking about the dysfunction of community and violence and other things that have been happened to these children and lack of resources to connect them to mental health,” he said.

Caswell is also the Executive Director of Legacy of Legends -- a non-profit organization that provides trauma informed training throughout Shelby county and referrals for kids with mental health and behavior issues.

According to a 2014 report by the Memphis Data Partners on Adverse Childhood Experiences, 52% of adults in Shelby County report having experienced at least one ACE ranging from substance abuse, emotional abuse, and violence between adults in the home.

The report also reveals Shelby County has higher prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and violence between adults in the home than the state and the nation.

Caswell is working to combat these statistics, and says all children, despite where they grow up, should have access to resources and a safe community.

Caswell is using the help of community partners like Pastor Ricky Floyd to make Legacy Plaza happen.

“You know, probably around 15 years ago, Charlie Caswell and I sat in the office and we came up with this, what I’ll call the seven P’s. And what you see happening now is you’re seeing the pastors to politicians, to parents, to proprietors the policeman, the politicians, and partners outside of the community coming together. And what we’re doing is we have the same voice, same vision, same values, which are leading to victories in our community,” Floyd said.

The project is expected to cost $3 million dollars and Caswell and his team are doing a Capital Funding campaign.

If all goes as planned, he hopes to break ground next year.

“I believe that this legacy plaza is going to bring so much hope to this community and give the families and kids for generations to come to say that, Hey, I grew up somewhere that was valuable to us as a whole,” he said.

If you’d like to contribute to the $3 million dollars needed for the Legacy Plaza, click here.

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