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"When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have a choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure." 


That’s what I told myself when I couldn’t pass the state teaching test.

That’s what I told myself when I was told to change my major and just do something else.

That’s what I told myself when my own family didn’t believe in me and what I wanted to pursue.

That’s what I told myself when the naysayers hated and my friends lied to my face. 

That’s what I told myself when I walked away from my job and lit a fire to my dream. 


No one could imagine that on July 22, 2019, I would unlock the door to a dream of a place where children and teens could come to be themselves and follow their dreams. A place where arts and culture are busting the seam and everyone around is telling you to dream.


After over 10 years of trying to meet the requirements to be a band director in my local school district, I stopped and I wondered, what if it was meant for me to do this my way? A way that could touch the lives of children and teens all over the city, not just at one school. What if I could create an atmosphere that encourages learning and but still yanks the toughness out of the heart. A place where parents who see no change in that child can witness a new change, a fresh beginning, a reason to be great. 


I birthed Memphis Youth Arts Initiative because “All Kids Need Something To Do”. Something to do turns into something to be, Something to be turned into something to achieve, something to achieve means there is something I can be and it’s up to me to see what that talent is that every child can bring. Someone invested in me and it’s my turn to invest in the like of these. 


I dream to one day soon be that same band director I always wanted to be, but It won’t have to be done in a place that’s not made for me. MYAI is a place for youth to engage in learning of instruments, dance, choir, and most of all social-emotional skills. With children from ages 6-17 years old all working and performing together in peaceful bliss. Structured to encourage a future in college, a plan to success, or an opportunity to discover that what they have to offers matters. 

Executive Director & Founder,


Corey Travis

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We believe that all students should have access to opportunities involving performing arts. Memphis Youth Arts Initiative’s Mission is to address that need and provide academic enhancement, life skills, & emotional support.  Our organization promotes activities geared towards helping students transform through music, arts, movement, and motivation.


We will maintain an environment and create programs conducive to positivity, enrichment, and growth through the facilitation and embracing of the arts.



We are pleased to be partners with many organizations, corporations, and businesses throughout Memphis, TN, and Nationwide. 

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