Nonprofit continues to strive despite tough year

Updated: Feb. 19, 2018 at 10:53 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Despite a challenging year, RedZone Ministries is pushing forward in hopes of changing the lives of young people in the Orange Mound community.

RedZone Ministries is a mission-based nonprofit located on Park Avenue. For more than 200 high school students, the small gray building has become like second home.

"They know they are safe here, and they are able to have fun," Whitney Williams said.

Williams works with RedZone Ministries. Each day she aids students to prepare for life after high school.

"We talk about FAFSA, we talk college, we talk about where they should be in school. What's going on at the school," Williams said.

Many students come to the center between 3 and 5 p.m. to play basketball, video games, or to just hang around positive people.

"Like a home for us, where we can be together without problems," Melrose High School student Dazjah Stafford said.

But it has been a challenging 18 months for the organization. The group has lost four students to gun violence, and one of the students died just across the street.

In December 2016, Rocky Russell was shot on Park Avenue. In August 2017, Tadarius Tate was killed in a drive-by shooting on Park Avenue. In October 2017, Roydaris Collins was killed, and most recently in December, Wany'e Boswell was shot and killed.

Each death serves as a hurtful reminder as to why the work is so important.

"RedZone's role us to step into the family and see how we can serve, what we can do, and what they need," Williams said.

The goal is to provide a place where success is not just an option but a reality.

"It has built my character, and gave me a little more self-discipline," Antonio Davis said.

RedZone Ministries is funded through private donors. The group is led by Executive Director Howard Eddings.

For more information on the group, you can visit their website.

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