A Child with a Dream is a Child with a Future - Wintley Phipps, Founder

Dream Cities | Memphis, TN

Alcy Elementary School
1750 Alcy Road
Memphis, TN 38114
Phone: (901) 416-3686
Fax: (901) 416-3695
Learning Center Director
Chiquita Allen
callenatusdreamacademy [dot] org
Mentor Coordinator
Connie Ellis
cellisatusdreamacademy [dot] org

Feature Story

Anna Butzlaff, was a college student at the University of Memphis, when she was recruited to be a mentor for the Dream Academy Learning Center in August 2011.  Anna was matched with 11 year old Joseph.  For both of them this year of mentorship at the Dream Academy became the foundation for something so much greater than either could have expected.  Joseph and Anna had developed a bond that extended to Joseph’s friends, family and even to Anna’s family; a bond that has kept them close even though now they are many miles apart. 

Joseph has a very reserved personality, but he is good friends with Levaldis, who is very outgoing.  Anna often took both of them to the movies or to the zoo or just to eat a snack somewhere. When Anna's parents came to Memphis to visit, she took them to meet Joseph and they all spent the afternoon together, riding on the trolley and skating at the local skating rink. When Anna's fiancé died of Lou Gehrig's disease, Joseph, Levaldis and their friends at the Dream Academy made sympathy cards for her, and grieved with her.

The close relationship that developed between Anna and Joseph is evident today in the wonderfully touching photo Joseph asked to be taken of him in his hospital room. He recently had to have brain surgery to relieve pressure that was causing severe headaches for Joseph. He's laughing in his photos, even as he expresses his need, as if the two shared a joke. We can imagine that Anna and Joseph have a secret way of facing life that means smiling even at the hardest times. Joseph's mother keeps in close contact with Anna, who is now living in Miami and working in a Law Office while she studies for the LSAT.

Anna is planning a visit to Memphis to see Joseph very soon, and will visit and catch up with all the news of the children at the Center. Joseph has a friend for life in Anna: someone he knows he can always count on, someone he can laugh with, and cry with. What started as a commitment of one hour a week has blossomed into a friendship with two families as Anna still gets calls from Levaldis and from the mothers of both boys. Each mentorship develops in a different way, but we know that most of them are a true and lasting blessing to both the mentor and mentee.

Our History in Memphis

The U.S. Dream Academy Learning Center in Memphis, TN is located in the Alcy-Ball Community at Alcy Elementary School.  The Center was founded as a result of a mentoring children of incarcerated parents grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.  Having transitioned from a mentoring-only Center to a full Learning Center in August of 2008, the Memphis Learning Center serves nearly 60 students who attend Alcy Elementary School. 

About Our Staff

Learning Center Director

Chiquita Allen serves the Memphis Learning Center as Center Director.  Mrs. Allen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her position having taught elementary school for four years in the Memphis City Public School System.  A graduate of Tennessee State University, Mrs. Allen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Education.  She has also earned a Master of Arts in Education, specializing in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. 


Mentor Coordinator

Connie Ellis became the Mentor Coordinator for the Memphis Learning Center in 2008 after having served as Program Assistant for several years.  A graduate of the University of Memphis, Ms. Ellis works as the Access Recovery Coordinator with Harbor House, alongside her work at the Dream Academy.  Certified in Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, Domestic Violence Facilitation, and Reality Choice Theory, Ms. Ellis is a well-rounded individual who contributes greatly to her position at the Memphis Learning Center. 

Our Memphis Partners in the Dream

Fed Ex African American Volunteers

Harbor House

Memphis Grizzlie Mentoring Alliance

University of Memphis

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events scheduled for this learning center at this time. Please check back later.