South Memphis entrepreneurs offering camp for local teens to work with the dead

SOUTH MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Children working with the dead could change lives, according to two South Memphis entrepreneurs.

Those women are hosting a funeral services education camp.

Those two women said they get a lot of phone calls from educators on behalf of their students in Shelby County Schools asking if their students can shadow funeral services experts.

The camp offers teens a chance to explore careers that they may have never thought about.

Madeline Lyles and Dana Taylor are the co-owners of Afterlife Mortuary Services in South Memphis.  The two became morticians more than 10 years ago.

“When I was 13, that is when the passion woke up in me to be a mortician and so I feel like at that age you’re very inquisitive and you want to explore,” said Lyles.

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It’s a field the entrepreneurs are giving teenagers an opportunity to explore as well. In July, they’re hosting the funeral services education camp for teens 13-17 years old.

“We will be going through the process from start to finish of funeral services as far as everything that goes on behind the scenes,” Taylor stated.

Teens will learn the embalming process, removal process and everything that goes into preparing for a funeral.

Students will also work closely with other professionals, such as homicide detectives.

“This is definitely an opportunity that we would love to take to try to broaden their horizons and expand their minds to the possibilities of what they could possibly be when they get older,” Taylor stated.

FOX13 asked people if they would encourage their friends’ children to attend the camp.

Some said it may be gruesome for kids to view bodies of the deceased. Others had a different opinion.

“It shows them that they can do more than they are commonly used to seeing,” said Myralia Montgomery. “It’s life. We live, we die. Can’t hide that.”

“We just want to give them that experience to make sure that that’s what they want to do in life,” Lyles stated.

The first session of that camp is July 8-12.

The second session is July 15-19 at Afterlife Mortuary Services on South Lauderdale Street in South Memphis – 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

It costs $70 to sign up. Call 901-600-3999 or send an email to