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Philanthropic champion helps teens create business opportunities

Mid-South Hero: Philanthropic champion helps teens create business opportunities
Mid-South Hero: Philanthropic champion helps teens create business opportunities
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A humble spirit, an entrepreneurial mind and a philanthropic heart, are at the root of this month’s Mid-South Hero.

Lakethia Glenn grew up in a small, rural community in the Mississippi Delta. The underserved area she came from, gave her a passion for giving back and as an adult, she has dedicated the last 19 years of her career to non-profit work.

“Helping people is who I am as a person, it’s who I’ll always be and I truly believe the help that I was given inspires me to want to do that today,” Glenn said. “It’s called the philanthropic bug, if you ever work for a non-profit for a short amount of time, you’ll find that the mission kind of drives you.”

That philanthropic bug eventually led Glenn to LITE Memphis, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between underserved communities, and the funds necessary to start successful business ventures, starting with high school students.

Glenn says LITE’s missions to equip African-American and LatixX high school students with 21st century professional development skills through entrepreneurship.

“Normally entrepreneurs start at the age of 26. We’re starting these young people off at 15. Can you imagine what it means for Memphis? If by the time the student is 26, they’ve kind of gotten this experience for the last 10 or 11 years? They are going to really have an impact on the economy, and what it means to be an entrepreneur in Memphis,” Glenn said.

It takes a lot of passion, effort and patience to see our city’s youth succeed, and Lakethia’s dedication to LITE Memphis has been an inspiration to all those around her. In her time as Executive Director, LITE has seen over 200 students pass through its program.

“If I blink my eyes long enough I’ll see myself in these students. If it wasn’t for someone caring for me, who knows where I would’ve been. I hope to be that to any one of these students, to inspire them to know that they can and they will,” Glenn said.

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