MEMPHIS, Tenn. - When you drive up to Memphis Rox, you’re quickly approached with Soulsville pride.
What’s inside may shock you. It certainly opens the eyes of kids in this neighborhood.
“Their mind is blown because they have never seen a rock-climbing gym before,” staff member Jarvis Dean said.
All summer and after school, hundreds of kids fill this facility. You’ll see kids rock climbing for sure but there’s so much more.
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Kids have access to weights, treadmills, boxing equipment and a meditation room.
“They’re in there having fun,” staff member Brittany Luckett said. “Like they have somewhere to hang out instead of the streets after school.”
Jaila Palmer goes to school at Soulsville Charter. All summer and after school you will find her at Memphis Rox.
“A very big advantage because most folks, some folks barely even have somewhere to go home to,” Palmer said.
Some kids barely know where their next meal is coming from. Which is where Memphis Rox steps in with their juice bar and café, offering healthy food options.
It’s also important to note membership and food here is pay as you can.
“Most of them, they don’t eat after school,” Luckett said. “So hey, we’re here. If they volunteer like an hour or so they can get free food.”
In partnership with Best Buy, the goal is to build a teen tech center.
“We’re trying to get something implemented for them, so when they come over after school, we can have a tech center for them,” Dean said. “So, they can do homework. Do something productive after school.”
There’s a lot going on at this Soulsville facility. So how would one describe Memphis Rox?
“It’s really community,” Dean said. “It’s diversity. It’s a positive place.”
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