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Centenarian’s love celebrated at Southwest

 

The Rev. Jacie Morris doesn’t make a dime as a foster grandparent at the Southwest Tennessee Community College Childcare Center on the Union Avenue Campus. It’s a strictly volunteer effort. The Rev. Jacie Morris doesn’t make a dime as a foster grandparent at the Southwest Tennessee Community College Childcare Center on the Union Avenue Campus. It’s a strictly volunteer effort.


The Rev. Jacie Morris blows out the candles during a birthday celebration at the Southwest Childcare Center. (Courtesy photo)

For 12 years, Morris has been dutifully hanging his hat at the center. It’s a place he loves to be. At peak periods, it is filled with six-week to five-year-old children and staff.

On Feb, 1, Morris marked his 100th birthday with the center as the backdrop.

He received many accolades, salutations, letters and even a flag from the White House.

The Foster Grandparent Program has operated in Memphis since 1972 and has been sponsored by Porter-Leath since 1985. Porter-Leath is a non-profit organization that is committed to serving at-risk children and families in the Memphis area. Founded in 1850 as an orphanage, it has since grown to six program service areas.

One of the programs is Generations, which brings children in need together with low-income seniors in a mutually beneficial experience. The volunteers spend an average of 20 hours per week reading, mentoring and sharing their time with children at schools, Head Start centers, hospitals, daycare centers and residential treatment centers in Memphis and Shelby County.

Morris has been a member of the Foster Grandparent Program for 25 years; 13 years at Lebonheur Children’s Hospital and the remaining time at Southwest.

On this special occasion, Morris was surrounded by his wife, niece, Porter-Leath and Southwest staff members, and the many daycare children. All sang “Happy Birthday.”

The guests included Carolyn Qualls, whose granddaughter, Jasmine, first was brought to the center at the age of nine-months. Jasmine is now ten. And each year, Qualls makes it a point to visit the center to see the Rev. Morris.

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