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‘Safe Spaces’ aims to build healthy families, safe community

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A group of community leaders are trying to actively make Memphis and Shelby County a safer and healthier place.

"Safe spaces" held its first panel on Monday and walked away with solutions.

"We know we don't live in a perfect city," said Dr. Cynthia Alexander Mitchell, director of family/community engagement for Shelby County Schools. "We don't have a perfect school district and we also know that we want a better city, want great schools and we want great communities."

Which is why "Safe Spaces" held their first panel on Monday.

It's made up of advocates for schools, businesses, churches and mental health experts.

They all came together to figure out how to actively tackle issues like poverty and crime in our community.

"It was really refreshing because it was a great opportunity for a meeting of minds and we had people who had solutions in the room," said Dr. Alexander Mitchell.

Some of the solutions focused on reaching out to parents more and noticing the struggles youth in Memphis often come across, recognizing that students sometimes go home to situations that encourage a bad lifestyle.

"We've got to meet them at the point of their need," said Cassandra Hughes Webster for self efficacy and advocacy. "We've got to incorporate wrap around services."

A big theme was needing to connect more with parents and kids.

It could be as simple as using social media to get information out about schools or jobs, to putting the idea of entrepreneurship into elementary students' minds.

"The only way we're going to get there is for all of us to work together."

The groups first step is splitting the county into nine areas, with everyone signing up to offer whatever service they can to one of the areas.

They'll meet quarterly and go over their progress, hoping that all their difference strengths can combine to one helpful change.