Memphis "Beat the Odds" Supporting the positive potential of young people
Memphis  “Beat the Odds” was founded in 1994 by Dr. Theresa Okwumabua after attending an awards dinner sponsored by Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). Having extensive experience with outreach programs and research involving at-risk youth, Dr. Okwumabua recognized the benefits of a local  program for youth and the community-at-large. The program operated under the auspices of Project RAP (Responsible Adolescent Parenting) until 2001, when the Memphis “Beat the Odds” Foundation was established.




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About Us

We are all too aware of the problems that threaten our children - including drugs, gangs, unplanned parenthood, school dropout, and guns in schools, just to name a few. All these things increase the odds, of youth becoming either victims or perpetrators. By contrast, the Memphis "Beat the Odds" program reminds us that they can indeed "beat the odds".

Memphis “Beat the Odds” reminds us that despite the societal threats to our youth, they can indeed overcome. Our candidates are incredible examples. Each year, MBTO recognizes up to six young people who bring positive attention to youth by achieving and excelling in spite of a variety of obstacles in their lives. Additionally, one adult who has worked tirelessly on the behalf of young people is honored. 


Nominations for award recipients are received from teachers, churches, and other community sources. Several past MBTO Award winners have finished high school, gone on to college, and are now making strides as responsible adults and citizens in the Memphis/Shelby County community and across the nation.

Some past award winners have received national attention in both television and print media for their success in the face of adversity.

MBTO Benefits to the Community
   
  • Increases awareness of the struggles children/youth face in our neighborhoods
  • Increases advocacy for children and awareness of local advocacy groups and organizations
  • Increases support and encouragement for struggling youth by recognizing those who are succeeding despite their circumstances
  • Increases recognition of benefits of adult involvement in the lives of youth 
 

MBTO is a volunteer organization, not-for-profit corporation with 501(c) (3) status. Donations and grants from private citizens, local businesses, and organizations sustain the foundation. 
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