March 6, 2020--Germantown, Tennessee-- Houston High School senior, Collin Siddell, has always had a passion for giving back to the community; he served as a volunteer with Special Olympics of Greater Memphis and trained for aviation rescue missions with the Civil Air Patrol. Although he enjoyed serving his community in these capacities, he felt his heart pulling him another direction of service. Collin had an idea to inspire youth who could benefit from mentorship and explore other opportunities. Through hard work and diligence, Collin, who is also a member of Houston's Leadership Academy, created a team and established the non-profit organization, A Diamond in the Rough, which has been implemented in a Shelby County elementary school and has already found success. His initial idea was to open the program to 25 students in grades 3-5, but overwhelming interest from students doubled the number.
The program is designed to develop future leaders, teach them life skills, and help set them on a path to college and career readiness. Meetings include activities where students meet and interact with community leaders from the Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Fire and Police Departments, as well as members of local government and the business community.
In the most recent meeting with the students and he brought in a speaker from Orion Bank to teach the kids about saving and budgeting. In December, Collin taught the children about manners. Next month he is having the owner of Muddy's Bakeshop to come and speak. Colin comes up with the topics for each meeting and secures the speakers on his own. Collin is planning on adding two more schools next year.