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Community Spotlight: Ashley’s and the Grizzlies give children a special night at FedEx Forum 

Ashley’s Hope to Dream initiative partnered with the Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Allies to bring beds to the children and siblings of Memphis Allies participants and others. 

Teamwork is power.  

This was evident as Memphis Allies, Ashley and the Memphis Grizzlies recently came together to give children a special night on the court at FedExForum.  

Ashley’s Hope to Dream initiative then provided the children and siblings of Memphis Allies participants and community partners with an invaluable gift: beds to call their own, and many nights of sound sleep. 

“Too often there are kids who sleep on pallets, on floors, or share beds,” said Jevonte Porter, assistant director of community relations for Memphis Allies. “We know the impact of not having a restful night’s sleep and what that does to children. It sometimes causes depression or hyperactivity. A restful night’s sleep is a key to success, to launch these young people’s dreams.” 

Former Grizzlies star Tony Allen and current Grizzlies player Ziaire Williams were on hand to conduct a fun clinic with the kids, each of whom was outfitted with a No. 12 Ja Morant jersey.  

Allen, alias “The Grindfather,” showed the kids how to get in a fierce defensive stance—just like he did on the way to being named to the NBA All-Defensive Team six times. 

But you know what else Allen did during his playing career? He made sure he got plenty of sleep, always grabbing a nap on game days. Williams, 22, also has seen the value of consistent, quality, rest. 

Sleep is so important to the next day for your body.


“Sleep is so important to the next day for your body,” Williams said.  

For the three dozen or so kids who participated, the experience of being on a real NBA court, of shooting a basketball on the same goals used by Ja Morant, was something beyond a dream. 

“Magic,” A 15-year-old said with a neon smile. “Electrifying.” 

Nearby, his 10-year-old brother broke out a spot-on imitation of Morant doing the “Rock Ya Hips” dance. 

His summary of the night: “Pretty cool. I learned a lot. My first-ever Ja Morant jersey. And I do take naps.” 

Now, all these kids can sleep easier. Ashley provided 70 beds. The Grizzlies provided memories to last a lifetime.  

And Memphis Allies, with its dedication to reduce gun violence in the city through its SWITCH and SWITCH Youth programs (Support with Intention to Create Hope), again demonstrated that teamwork knows no bounds. 

“So much of the work we do at Memphis Allies cannot happen without the support and dedication of community partners,” Porter said. “This was another great example.” 

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