Urban League’s Shawn Sanders and The Power of One

Rev. Shawn Sanders

Rev. Shawn Sanders

The Urban League of Middle Tennessee (ULMT) hosted its 48th annual Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon Tuesday, February 2, at the Hilton Downtown Nashville, themed “The Evolution of the Movement.” The keynote speaker was the affiliate’s new President and CEO Ken Green, who shared details about the future of ULMT. The Honorable Mayor Megan Barry brought Greetings.

ULMT CEO Ken Green

ULMT CEO Ken Green

The tone for the day was set by Rev. Shawn Sanders, Workforce Development Manager for Urban League of Middle Tennessee, who shared a powerful story about ‘The Power of One.’ The story begins in a federal prison cell where a young black man contemplates his future. With six months left on his sentence, this young man cannot help but wonder how life has changed in the 13 years he has been imprisoned. Resolved that he that he would need help in order to succeed, John pens a four-page letter to the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, asking for help.

In it he writes, “I fear that I will not be accepted by the mainstream society,” and with little background work history, that enhances the challenges even more. “I’m having fears,” young John goes on to write, “fears of being released, fears of coping with society.” With these words we see the first part of our story- one man’s call for help.

Part two takes us into the ULMT offices. There, one cold November morning, an ULMT Program Manager finds young John’s letter on his desk. Moved by its content, that one manager delivered the letter to one CEO. And that CEO answered the call. Now to illustrate the call, he asks for a little help.

Mayor Megan Barry

Mayor Megan Barry

Shawn said to the audience, “When I point to you all, I want you as a group to say ‘Get it done!’ As you speak these words, listen as well for the other voices around you.” And they did; and it sounded amazing! “That is what it sounded like, when our CEO gave the charge,” he said. “No longer one voice but many voices.” And so the work began.

In part one, we heard One person’s call; in part two we heard one CEO’s response. Now let us hear One community’s action. Three months after the receipt of this letter, ULMT is proud to announce the initiation of our Adult and Juvenile Reentry programs.

One Man’s call, one CEO’s response, one Community’s action… The Power of One!

The Urban League of Middle Tennessee has entered into the following partnership agreements to offer Employment and educational interventions:

• Martha O’Bryan Center Chapter 2 Program – serving 17-24 year old out of school population
• Martha O’Bryan Center Jobs Plus Pilot – serving adults in the Tony Sudekum and J.C. Napier neighborhoods
• Oasis Center Face Forward Program – serving 17-24 year old juvenile justice youth
• Numerous Community Projects with various neighborhoods, including Jefferson Street, New Covenant Christian Church, and the MDHA.
• Tennessee Department of Corrections has agreed to refer groups of offenders for employment and adult education services.

To prepare us for the work, ULMT announces the addition of the following services:

• Dress for Success Services- to offer free suits and accessories to female job seekers.
• Employment services provided by Teresa Daniels, certified HR Professional
• Strengthening Families Program Services – to help the family unit cope with challenging family dynamics
• Anger Management Classes – to assist with communication and healthy relationship skills

ULMT educational interventions have been expanded to include: GED/ HiSet preparation, Post- Secondary Education, and Training Certifications for formerly incarcerated persons.

One Man’s call, one CEO’s response, one Community’s action… The Power of One!

For additional information, visit the Urban League website at http://ul-mdtn.iamempowered.com/ or call 615-254-0525.