A Small Epiphany Leads to a Big Life's Purpose

June 2012

There was a moment a few years ago, while 26-year-old Erika Burnett was still an undergrad student at Tennessee State University, when she realized that a life of serving others was just the life she wanted.

Real Moms of East Nashville: A Network of Single Moms to Share Resources and Find Support

May 2012

“Are you Develle’s mother?” a young brunette’s voice pierces a clamor of roiling teenagers as she catches up to a pair of moms in a Stratford High School hallway. “I’m his Spanish teacher,” she says. “It is so great to see you guys here!”

Kim Tucker and a petite mom named Tiamecca are here to find out how Tiamecca’s sons are doing in school. The news isn’t good. Develle, a tall, articulate junior who’s failing Spanish and English, tends to disrupt class and argue with his teachers. His brother Tyshawn is a freshman with spidery dreadlocks who holds his mom’s hand with unabashed affection. He’s failing algebra.

A novel idea: Helping kids learn the love of words

April 2012

On a cold, diamond-clear Saturday afternoon, 33-year-old Kristen House scribbles a number on a dry erase board: 280,000. “That’s how many new titles are published in the U.S. every year,” she tells a rapt audience of six teenagers. “That’s 2 percent of what’s submitted.

Hay Esperanza: There is hope

March 2012

We’ve heard the statistics so many times, they’ve lost their power to shock: According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, an estimated one in four women will experience domestic violence; most cases go unreported.

The things they carry: Helping mend the psychological wounds of war

As one war ends in Iraq and another continues for the foreseeable future in Afghanistan, thousands of U.S. soldiers arrive home, only to face a more prolonged and far lonelier battle with the psychic aftermath of combat experience.

Beyond the Bedside: Increasing the Odds for Tennessee's Most Vulnerable Babies

January 2012

“Neonatology wasn’t even a word in the 1960s,” Dr. Judy Aschner tells me emphatically. The view out her office window at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center complex offers architectural proof of the idea having found its footing beyond mere lexicon.
“The field really got its start here,” says Aschner.

The Gift of Welcome: Giving Refugees a Home

The aerial view: a hilltop Nolensville Road apartment complex, resplendent with saris and hijabs, lilting and unfamiliar languages, kids playing soccer. Now zoom in: Near a tidy playground, there’s a cheery cinderblock classroom, where a dark-eyed Nepali man answers another woman’s questions.

Silverman's Screens

“What do you think they do for excitement in this town?”
–Burt Reynolds, “Smokey and the Bandit”

For Nashville teens growing up in the ’80s — the heyday of suburbs and Shoney’s, malls and mustaches — the question roiled, stoking adolescent restlessness for somewhere a little more Fame, a little less Ordinary People.

A Moveable Feast

October 2011

“We’re gonna give you the futuristic tour!” announces Benjamin Surmi, as he and his business partner Jenny Vaughn Harrison lead me through a sprawling, disused commercial kitchen in a derelict hospital off Gallatin Road.

Stands With Fist

In a threadbare basement conference room at the Tennessee Justice Center, attorney Michele Johnson sweeps a slender arm towards what she calls the “Mother’s Day Wall,” a floor-to-ceiling gallery of framed photographs — families captured in moments of relief or worry, mothers embracing kids whose faces look joyful o

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Her Well Being: Stories of Health, Survival, and Livin' It Up Her Style

Clean Bill of Health

The specter of heredity has lurked in the darker corners of Cheryl Perkins’ mind for as long as she can remember.
Her mother died of colon cancer four years ago, and nearly all of the women on her mother’s side of the family had hysterectomies between age 45 and 50 because of cancer diagnoses.

To read this and other Her Well-Being stories, click here.

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