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'January 2020'

Jan 30

Director's Message: Priorities in Focus

Posted to Community Services News on January 30, 2020 at 8:56 AM by Janet Lo

young headshot 1-101-2

Director's Message

Priorities in Focus


2020. 35 years ago, I was fully expecting at this point to be participating in time travel and space travel *cues Back To The Future and The Jetsons*. Strangely enough, the reality of the beginning of this year has found me much more reflective about my present self rather than worrying much about any of those things. The heaviness of recent events locally, nationally, and even personally, have forced me to get a renewed perspective about what is most important for me.

Gaining perspective about what is important in life is probably proof that I am finally on track to the “adulting” phenomenon that I have resisted for as long as I could. I would argue, however, that just being forced into perspective is not enough for continued evolution towards my best self. Without going through the process of shifting my perspective into establishing priorities, it all seems pretty shallow. Priorities allow us to put our perspective into action.

I don’t know about you, but it seems that I always have the hardest time with the priorities and action part. Even during this “New Year, New Me” time of the year when I have attended every vision board session, bought every journal, signed up for every workout class and made every resolution, I still seem to get off track. This got me to thinking, why is it so hard to prioritize?

It is complicated. Nothing about what we care the most about is ever simple. It is typically linked to something else that we may also care about (or not) that muddies the waters. For example, we      prioritize our families and the time we spend with them. Because we care so deeply about them, we many times work as hard as we can to earn the best living possible to provide for them. Hard work, moving on up, and we may look up and have less time -- surprise -- for that family that we did all of this for in the first place.

It is overwhelming. There are so many important activities, ideas and relationships that we care about, it can be hard to pick. I mean everything matters right? 

It changes. Just like the seasons, what is and needs to be a priority in your life changes. It can be difficult to recognize or just hard to accept these changes for many of us.

It is a marathon. The art and science of developing priorities through all of the complicated and overwhelming change is not something you just sprint through quickly and do once. You have to be committed to constantly being open to creating, assessing, and changing priorities throughout your entire life. I mean with so much to do, who has time for that?

Regardless of how long of a list we could all make about why it is so hard to prioritize, I submit that in order to be healthy individuals, it is a requirement. If you try to do everything, you learn rather quickly through burnout and/or utter failure that it is impossible. The same is true within our organizations. Determining and sticking to priorities gives us direction and focus. It helps us to figure out how to keep doing the things we need to do even better and change course when things aren’t working very well. It helps us with time management and feeling less overwhelmed. It allows us to be our best selves, and frees up our partners and colleagues to do the same. It sets us all up for a collective win.

Over the course of this new year, you will be a part of plenty of conversations and work as we assess current and develop new priorities for the Division of Community Services. I am hopeful that as a part of that work, you are able to create your own personal priority plan as well. I am confident that as we focus on shifting our perspectives into priorities in action, the better equipped we are to be our best selves, individually and as a team in 2020. 

Dorcas Young Griffin
Director of the Division of Community Services
Shelby County Government

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Jan 30

Staff News - January 2020

Posted to Community Services News on January 30, 2020 at 8:56 AM by Janet Lo

Division of Community Services

Care Like King: MLK Days of Service

staff news - mlk care dayThe Division of Community Services cares, and we CARE LIKE KING about the residents of Shelby County.   This year, we partnered with Leadership Memphis and United Way to offer our employees opportunities to participate in the MLK Days of Service.  We identified several programs and invited staff to join.

By volunteering just a few hours, Division staff could make a dramatic effect on the lives of Shelby County residents. The focus was on three projects: Joining students of LeMoye-Owen College and Soulsville residents for a neighborhood clean-up; Volunteering at the King Day at the National Civil Rights Museum; and tire removal at T.O. Fuller State Park. 

staff news - mlk 1 staff news - mlk 2

Welcome New Members of the Division Family

Staff news - LRobinson 001Lorann Robinson
Lorann Robinson is excited for the opportunity to work for Shelby County Government and CSA as a Clerical specialist processing applications for LIHEAP. She loves the mission of CSA and all that it offers to our community, giving hope to those that may be feeling hopeless. In her last job, she was a recruiter for a non-profit organization.  


staff news - DeJara Sanders 001DeJara Sanders
DeJara Sanders is a new Community Services Specialist, providing fiscal monitoring for CSA. She is results-oriented and brings us over ten years of accounting experience. She graduated from Strayer University with a Master’s Degree in accounting and is preparing herself to work towards a CPA and CMA. She is team player, self-motivator, and a self-starter.  






Staff news - MGrimmMitchell Grimm
Mitchell Grimm came to the County as a Paralegal from a Criminal Defense and Immigration law office. Mitchell is also a part-time student at Southwest Tennessee Community College majoring in Paralegal Studies. He is married with two daughters who both graduated from their respective universities this year.  His wife is a patent attorney, and is General Counsel for a Memphis-based agricultural company. They are both active in local charities and not-for-profit organizations, such as Room in the Inn, Project 20/20, and WEVL radio. Mitchell and his wife enjoy traveling and college sports.

And Congratulations to Lateshia McNeil and Kimberly Holmes on their permanent roles as Clerical Specialists! 

staff news - bdays jan 2020

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Jan 30

Prioritizing Senior Hunger

Posted to Community Services News on January 30, 2020 at 8:47 AM by Janet Lo

Aging - meals credit to MIFAAging Commission of the Mid-South
Prioritizing Senior Hunger

Despite strong financial markets, millions of seniors in the United States are going without enough food. The State of Senior Hunger in America annual report documents the prevalence of food insecurity among the senior population age 60 and older in the United States. Research shows that in 2019, 5.5 million seniors (nearly 8% of the senior population) were food insecure. The current number of seniors who are food insecure has more than doubled since 2001. Senior food insecurity is at a rate of 17% in Memphis, a sobering statistic that is a call to action. 

The Aging Commission of the Mid-South is the single source seniors need to answer all of their questions from Medicare, in-home care, adult day care, and food insecurity. If you are aware of a senior who is suffering from food insecurity, they may qualify for Meals on Wheels or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides benefits to eligible, low- income individuals and families via an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card. This card can be used like a debit card to purchase eligible food in authorized retail food stores.  Adequate nutrition is necessary for health, functionality, and the ability to remain independent. Healthy eating can increase mental acuity, resistance to illness and disease, energy levels, immune system strength, recuperation speed and the ability to manage chronic health problems. Meals on Wheels ensures that seniors have access to adequate nutrition even when family support, mobility, and resources are lacking. For more information, please contact The Aging Commission of the Mid-South at 901-222-4111. 

Thank you MIFA for providing the photo. 

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Tag(s): January 2020, Aging