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Innovative program gives students a new way to shine and ‘press forward’

by Jurnee Taylor

Courtesy photos of David Rose

Memphis is blessed to have programs devoted to building the next leaders. Through tools and resources, these programs are able to develop students into the decision makers of tomorrow.  According to David Rose, founder of Inner L.I.G.H.T. - it’s here to “Disrupt!” and prove that the true tool that each person needs is their Inner L.I.G.H.T.

Since 2012, Inner L.I.G.H.T. has reached 10 schools, three states and 500 children. With over 50 volunteers helping for the last 6 years, it has helped restore and engage the community through innovative youth programs and community projects.  

Courtesy photos of David Rose

The acronym L.I.G.H.T. stands for life, intelligence, generosity, humility and talents and each day, Inner L.I.G.H.T. believes these conceptual ideas and characteristics will impact society in a positive way.

“This program was a stepping stone for the man that I’m becoming today,” Inner L.I.G.H.T. 2015 summer participate, Matthew Bellow said. “This program cultivates young men and women to reach their truest potential.” And, two ways they help students “press forward” are through literacy and entrepreneurship programs. The program’s literacy lab is year-round and has been in place since 2014. Currently once a week, Inner L.I.G.H.T.’s mentors visit Cummings and Crump Elementary giving students an innovative approach to literacy projects; a program that is also online for students to engage in at home.

Courtesy photos of David Rose

But what seems to be some of the student’s favorite is the Start Camp. An intense week were students work diligently to come up with ideas, logos and prototypes to present to judges for a chance to win $1,000 in funding.

“I was given the opportunity to share my vision that could one day better the lives of others,” Inner L.I.G.H.T. 2018 summer participant, Amber Weir said. “Inner L.I.G.H.T. has impacted my life immensely.” And, that’s ultimately Inner L.I.G.H.T.’s goal: to provide the most positive impact on society and communities nationwide and for six years and counting, it has, and it will continue to. Pressing forward according to Rose, is the goal that Inner L.I.G.H.T. now won’t look like the same Inner L.I.G.H.T. in five years.

Jurnee Taylor is a freelance writer for Memphis Small Business Quarterly. You can reach her at

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