Memphis organization provides essential home repairs and leadership development

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Philip Walkley is the executive director of SOS, Service Over Self. It’s an organization that provides critical home repairs and offers leadership development. 

 “We work with youth and homeowners in our partner neighborhoods, Binghampton, The Heights and Orange Mound,” he said.  

They provide total roof replacement for homeowners who are financially unable to do so on their own, for free. SOS normally works with volunteers from all over the country but that changed this year due to Covid. 

“This summer we are actually working with a group of high school students from Binghampton that have been a part of an after-school construction training program that we’ve done for several years,” explained Walkley.  

Jaheem Smith, a rising senior at Douglas High School, has been attending their after-school programs since he was in sixth grade.  

 “It feels good to help someone who has problems with their roof and stuff,” he told WREG’s Corie Ventura. “I can teach others and do stuff myself to prove that I’m worth it.” 

Jaheem and the other crew members along with SOS’s construction directors, safely secured themselves to the roof and removed the shingles from Ms. Ernestine’s house. 

“It’s a beautiful home but the roof was in bad need of repairs, so we were able to come and replace that roof for her,” he said.  

WREG caught up with Iona Myers, Ms. Ernestine’s daughter, who told us her mom has lived in that house for over 50 years and it was her daughter, Ms. Ernestine’s granddaughter, who contacted SOS for a new roof. 

“When they called us, it was just a blessing. It was a blessing to us all,” she said.  

“We’re not only repairing people’s homes but we’re building leaders and teaching skills that are valuable for a lifetime,” explained Walkley.  

That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Service Over Self a check for $1,000, because when you remove one stress from a homeowner’s plate and empower the youth, you truly can create a thriving community. A true community changer. 

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