February 6: Eric Watkins
Eric Watkins is a father, husband, and prominent community leader in Memphis, TN. Eric utilized his personal resources, community donations, and community partnerships to build a grassroots nonprofit organization called the Red Door Urban Missions. Eric created the community care model with a holistic approach for the residents with limited access to resources that comprehensively addressed the needs of both youth and adults in his community. He embedded community service programs in urban inner-city apartment complexes. Apartment complexes such as Creekside Meadows Apartments, Peppertree Apartments, and New Horizon Apartments provided rental spaces at a low payment rate, which allowed Eric to convert those apartments into community centers. The centers currently offer services to residents, including but not limited to care coordination services, mental health counseling, mentoring, workforce development, drug abuse referrals, adult literacy classes for English Language Learners (ELL), literacy programs for children, domestic violence counseling, gang and gun prevention programs, emergency food and clothing pantries, meal service through a partnership with Giving Youth A Chance (GYAC) and coordination with health and wellness services.