6th annual Holiday Social & Toy Drive held

L-R Barrington Gist, Martesha Johnson, Hayley Mason, Ryan Nelson and Lydia Dumas  Photo by Cass Teague

L-R Barrington Gist, Martesha Johnson, Hayley Mason, Ryan Nelson and Lydia Dumas. (Photo by Cass Teague)

‘Tis the season to spread holiday cheer, and the Urban League Young Professionals of Middle Tennessee (ULYPMT) led the group effort for their 6th annual Holiday Social and Toy Drive. Joining the ULYPMT were several other organizations comprised of local African American professionals. Among them, the NABJ – Nashville chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, led by President Hayley Mason; the Napier-Looby Bar Association, led by president Chris Bellamy, and members Martesha Johnson and Sheila Calloway; the 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee; the local chapter of the National Association of Health Service Executives, led by Ryan Nelson; and the Meharry Family Medicine group participated.

The event was held at Moguls Lounge on December 8th, that included two special signature cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a dessert Bar, music by DJ Culture and live music performance. Members of the participating organizations and their invited guests had holiday fun while contributing to a very worthy cause. Lydia Dumas of ULYPMT helped organize the event.

“Uniting our community’s leaders in Nashville for this cause,this is ULYPMT’s third year supporting The F.I.N.D. Design in their holiday program serving underprivileged youth,” says ULYPMT president Barrington Gist. “This year they have expanded their efforts to support teen mothers and homeless students in metro schools. Because they are focusing on these groups we have been asked to provide gifts that go beyond toys and fulfill basic needs for children between ages 5 and 10.”

Thus, suggested (new) gift items included socks, gloves, sweatshirts, jackets, sweatpants, long-sleeved shirts, toiletries (deodorant/lotion), and gift cards of at least $15. Gifts were distributed at the The F.I.N.D. Design Gifts of Love program on Saturday, December 16 in Antioch.

Here is more about The F.I.N.D. (Families in Need of Direction) Design program: The F.I.N.D Design, (TFD) is a 501c3 community-based organization serving the Middle Tennessee area by providing group mentoring, social emotional development and life training, community outreach and family engagement for youth ages 13-18. The goal of the program is to pinpoint young ladies and men who could potentially have, or have had, a rough transition to adulthood and offer a positive support system to avoid the pitfalls that can disrupt their lives.

Their Mission is strengthening youth achievement and the opportunity for success through mentoring, social-emotional learning, outreach and family involvement. Their Vision is rebuilding the minds, spirits, and hearts of the family unit one person at a time. Their Motto is Building Relationships, Create Change!

TFD’s overall goal is that each young person that comes through Their organization receives their high school diploma or GED. they And once that is accomplished, to execute the long-term goals defined in the program.

The TFD Promise is based on the B.A.R.S. principle = Believe, Achieve, Receive, and Succeed. Believe that we can create our own destiny of growth and prosperity by remaining focused, driven, and motivated. Achieve a renewed perspective and a mindset of victory while dismissing the mentality of defeat. Receive guidance, education, training, and life skills that we will incorporate into our daily lives. And Succeed by being the best that we can be and to accomplish each goal that we set forth. We understand that our struggles do not define our future but help shape our character.