Memphis "Beat the Odds" Supporting the positive potential of young people


I want to nominate a remarkable member
of my community!


MBTO Youth Award
Each year, we celebrate the remarkable lives of the honorees with their families, friends, teachers, and counselors at a special awards ceremony. 
Nominations come from a variety of sources - schools, social services agencies, and other community groups serving children.  
Selection guidelines for the youth award 
Nominees should:
  • Be enrolled in school
  • Be between the ages of 13 and 21 years
  • Have an academic record that shows marked effort, improvement, or success
  • Show evidence of having overcome hardships including, but not limited to, poverty, poor health, and/or personal/family tragedy
  • Participate in extracurricular school, religious or civic activities
  • Show evidence of giving back to their community


Cathryn Rivers Johnson Award
The Cathryn Rivers Johnson Award is named for an exceptional woman who influenced the lives of numerous youth and young adults. To be considered for the Cathryn Rivers Johnson Award, nominees must exhibit some of the admirable characteristics and qualities of Cathryn Rivers Johnson. 

Ms. Johnson was a loving, humble, dedicated, compassionate, and motivational person who dedicated her life to serving people, especially children. 

She dedicated time and energy to molding and preparing young people to become productive citizens. Mrs. Johnson taught at Booker T. Washington High School for 32 of her 35 years in secondary education. Upon retirement from the Memphis City Schools, she worked as an Educational Talent Search Counselor with Girls, Incorporated.

She never met a stranger and was always a positive factor in each life she touched. She served young people through the WDIA Teen Town Singers,  as musician.
She was an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Salem Gilfield Baptist Church. 

Selection guidelines for the Cathryn Rivers Johnson Award :

Nominees should:

  • Show evidence of having impacted the life of a young person or young adult beyond the scope of their employment
  • Show evidence of having assisted youth in their career development and/or educational endeavors 
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