On Saturday, October 27, 2012, tune in to hear Tennessee's First Lady, Crissy Haslam, and Memphis Song Bird, Ephie Ballard Johnson, discuss First Ladies for Healthy Babies. First Ladies For Healthy Babies is an initiative that was launched with members of the faith-based community in Memphis in support of the Operation Smart Child program in June of 2011.
Operation Smart Child is a family outreach and education initiative of the Neighborhood Christian Centers, in partnership with The Urban Child Institute in Memphis. It is designed to impact the mental, social, economic, and spiritual lives of children through early brain development strategies and interventions. Since the Memphis launch last year, Crissy Haslam has kicked off Nashville's First Ladies for Healthy Babies in April and will lauch the Knoxville area's event on November 8, 2012.
Crissy Haslam and Ephie Johnson will share what inspired them to address the needs of the youngest Tennesseans while emphasizing the important role that parents play as their child’s first teacher. Both leading ladies will also shares how families can help eliminate healthcare and educational disparities in the Volunteer State, like reading twenty minutes a day to a child.
Living Your Best Life can be heard on 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, streaming live online at UStream.TV and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10am CST. Crissy Haslam's interview was originally aired on XM's HBCU Channel on WTST.
More About Crissy Haslam
Crissy married Bill Haslam and moved to Knoxville in 1981. While working as the assistant director of admissions for UT-Knoxville, she received a Master of Science degree in Education in the program of College Student Personnel.
She has served on numerous civic and community boards, and currently serves as chair of the Tennessee Executive Residence Foundation.
Crissy and Bill have 3 grown children.
As First Lady of Tennessee, Crissy has introduced a three-part initiative that focuses on the interplay between family engagement and literacy improvement in Tennessee. She has been traveling the state to stress the importance of parents as first teachers, parents as education partners, and also to raise awareness for the exponential value of reading on grade level by the 3rd grade.
Crissy Haslam's social media sites are: Twitter , Facebook, YouTube, and Website.
More About Ephie Ballard Johnson
Ephie Johnson, president and CEO of the Neighborhood Christian Centers, was born in Memphis just six days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. Although born during a troubling time, Johnson believes that Memphis is filled with potential and has spent her life working with those less fortunate than herself.
She considers her parents, Dr. JoeAnn and the late Monroe Ballard, to be extraordinary role models when it comes to giving back.
"All my life," she said, "I've known giving through my parents' eyes."
As she was growing up, her parents mentored more than 75 girls from impoverished or at-risk homes, helping them to become young, independent people.
It was through this work and through a desire to help others that Johnson's mother co-founded what is now known as the Neighborhood Christian Centers.
The Neighborhood Christian Center is a faith-based organization that serves entire families and has seven full-service sites in Memphis and numerous satellite and chapter affiliations.
But even with service being her family's lifeblood, Johnson initially shied away from that direct path, choosing instead to be a teacher. But as she taught, Johnson realized that she was more like her parents than she had thought.
After marrying and moving away to Alabama, Johnson moved back to Memphis to become her mother's apprentice believing that "God was grooming me according to His plan for me."
While working alongside her mother at the Neighborhood Christian Center for 13 years, Johnson drove the van, painted the walls, cooked in the kitchen , counseled clients, and learned the ministry of serving people -- earning everything she could about the mission of the Neighborhood Christian Centers and how to minister to those it serves. She formally took over as CEO in May 2008.
Johnson also hosts the "FaithForum" on FOX Memphis and serves as the choir director for Hope Presbyterian Church, where she enjoys sharing her love of song.
"God gave me a singing ability and a desire to share through song," she said. "Plus, it's important to have something outside of my day-to-day world."
Excerpt above from The Commercial Appeal.
More About Ephie Ballard Johnson can be found here.
Living Your Best Life would like to thank media partners: WTST The Blaze at TSU, 760 The Gospel, Mocha Market Magazine, Rhealistic Branding and News Channel 5 Urban Outlook.
Story on First Ladies for Healthy Babies written by Genma Holmes can be found here.
Photo Credits: State of TN except Crissy Haslam and Genma Holmes (John Cross)