HOW IT ALL BEGAN.
"ALL KIDS NEED SOMETHING TO DO!"
Memphis Youth Arts Initiative was birthed because “All Kids Need Something To Do”. Something to do turns into something to be, Something to be turns into something to achieve, something to achieve means there is something I can be. It’s up to US to see what that talent is that every child can bring and invest in it wholeheartedly. Someone invested in our founder and he thought it best that it’s our turn to invest in the like of these our children, our teens, our future.
Our Founder, Corey Travis, has been in Performing Arts all his life and has a passion beyond belief for Youth, Arts, & Music. His background in Percussion, Vocal, and Performance stretches across over 25 years and amongst School, Church, Professional Stages, and More. After building and creating successful drumlines, dance teams, and performing arts programs at various schools during his public school teaching career Mr. Travis realized something very vital; Performing Arts CHANGES LIVES. Our Founder then resigned as a Family Engagement Specialist from then Shelby County Schools and dived in headfirst in founding and creating a non-profit organization to address the growing need for more performing arts opportunities thus creating the Memphis Youth Arts Initiative.
MYAI, as we call it for short, started in a one-room office located at the corner of Walnut Grove and Tillman Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Travis was determined to create an organization where students from all over Memphis and the Mid-South area could come to learn music, drama, vocals, and how to be better people. As the Coronavirus Pandemic started he trusted God and still constituted to bring the youth he had vested together to learn the art meeting once a week in the parking lot space where his one-room office was located. He stored his equipment in the office and operated the organization daily from that cramped and stuffed space less than 900 square feet.
In the summer of 2020, Mr. Travis drew down all the retirement funds he had worked for in the 11 years of teaching education and used it to lease a new larger home for MYAI in the Whitehaven area of Memphis. After opening its doors in Whitehaven, MYAI started to grow rapidly into what it is today. MYAI added more volunteer staff members, gained more members, acquired more equipment, and started new programs such as choir, praise dance, and a student band. With little to no funding, MYAI has managed to become one of the most well-known Youth Performing Arts programs in the city.
Since being charted and organized on July 22, 2019, Memphis Youth Arts Initiative has performed and been a part of several national stages such as the Pearl Drumline Battle hosted by Drum Corp International and the Drumline Network in Indianapolis, Indiana; featured on 2 shows for the No Limit Tour with Master P and the No Limit Family in Nashville & Southaven, Performed Live during Worship with Pastor Michael Todd and the Transformation Church in Tusla, Oklahoma; Performed Halftime for the PR Sevens Rugby Championship Game in Memphis; and so much more.
We have been blessed to also partner with and participate in events with Iheart Radio for the Annual Sister Strut Walk, Amazon Corporation for Employee Appreciations, Bass Pro Shops for Holiday Entertainment, The Tennessee Mass Choir for Concert Collaborations, and with NLE Choppa for our Annual Awards Gala.
MYAI is a place for youth to engage in learning instruments, dance, choir, and most of all social-emotional skills, with children from ages 5-19 years old all working and performing together in peaceful bliss. Our intentions are structured to encourage a future in college, a plan to succeed, or an opportunity to discover. We help youth understand what they have to offer matters and strive to be that place for it all to happen. Journey with us as we try to become a consistent light and beacon for all youth with aspirations to become leaders in the community and fly to new heights.
"Creating Leaders through Embracing the Arts"
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 CHANGE LIVES.
We are pleased to be partners with many organizations, corporations, and businesses throughout Memphis, TN, and Nationwide.