MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You often hear people say if you don’t like something, change it. A Mid-South woman did just that when she realized a lot of kids were heading down the wrong path and dying because of it.
“I was just tired of seeing kids head down the road of destruction,” Tanya Johnson Hoard told WREG’s Symone Woolridge. “My sister lost a son, but a lot of those kids lost themselves because they had to go to jail at an early age, well prison at an early age.”
In 2014, her nephew moved from Arkansas to Georgia. He was murdered by known gang members during an attempted robbery.
“He was killed by a group of his peers. And he felt like he knew them, and he felt like he could trust them, and they ended up murdering him.”
The news was a turning point for Johnson Hoard.
She saw a need for mentorship in West Memphis and created an organization in her nephew’s honor called Quincy’s 3H Foundation, a nonprofit with a mission to inspire girls and young women in the Mid-South.
Sixteen-year-old Alexia Sanders is a product of the organization.
“I got started when I started doing bad things and that’s when I started getting in trouble a lot.”
She’s one of 10 mentees and surrounded by girls similar to her who are all entering the organization with low self esteem, but working to change for the better.
“When I first started I looked like a shy girl that didn’t want to talk, always had a attitude. I’m working on my attitude by the way. But when I leave the group I feel like I’m going to be a strong young lady.”
It’s part of the foundation’s slogan: Hope. Help. Heal. Words the young women walk by before and after every meeting.
“We allow girls hope when they come in because you’re believing in yourself, and then we’ll begin to help you by getting different people to talk to you and allowing you to open up so that you can get to the root of the problem. And we believe there is a healing process after all of this.”