MEET OUR TEAM
What started as an effort to provide educational opportunities to underprivileged kids transformed into a program that shares the benefits of diversity with us all. These are the folks who work to make it happen.
JOHN & MAURA BAILEY
The Baileys have always had a passion for helping less fortunate children, especially when it comes to providing educational opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have. This started when John’s company began investing in scholarship programs for minorities at a local Memphis university. Through this program, applicants didn't just receive assistance with tuition, they also got the opportunity to receive mentorship from engineers throughout the company.
As beneficial as these scholarships were, John and his coworkers discovered that finding candidates for the program proved to be difficult. It was then that John and Maura decided they wanted to give back in a different way: by helping kids get a better education before college.
The Baileys' goals became more focused as they investigated Christian schools for their own children. Like many parents, they wanted their kids to have the best Christian education possible. However, they found that a majority of potential schools lacked diversity, both racially, and socioeconomically. How can one understand people if they never know, or even have the opportunity to meet someone from a different background until attending college?
After a discussion with the Bailey’s private school, the situation became clear: diversity would increase if more funding was available to provide scholarships. John immediately put together a two-part plan: Part one: give kids from failing schools the opportunity to get a good, Christian education. Part two: provide diversity in these private Christian schools amongst the children who traditionally attend them. The Bailey’s believed that providing a diversity of race and economics backgrounds to school-aged children would provide benefits to the surrounding community as well. With this newfound diversity, they hoped to instill a sense of understanding and enlightenment throughout the city of Memphis – and beyond. While it started as a plan just for the school that the Bailey's children attended, everything changed when the couple met Willie Jenkins. Through conversation and prayer, the Baileys decided that they needed to aim higher and establish a foundation that would provide this opportunity across many Christian schools and U.S. cities.
More About John And Maura
Maura was born in Chicago, Illinois, and spent her childhood growing up in Austin, Texas. She earned her college degree from the University of Colorado, where she was also a student athlete on the soccer team. After marrying John, she later attended the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Maura currently serves as a clinic director for a local physical therapy provider.
John was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, where he and Maura reside to this day. He attended the Colorado School of Mines and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. John met Maura while visiting the University of Colorado campus. Following graduation, John moved to Houston, Texas, for several years before returning home to Memphis. He’s now an executive at a Memphis-based consulting company. John and Maura have five children together.
DENARDO & KIM CRAWFORD
When Denardo and Kim started dating in high school, Kim introduced Denardo to the Salvation Army, her church since childhood. Denardo’s reaction was like that of many: “The Salvation Army is a church?” It is, but few people know it is because it is more known for its service to others. This identity in service to others, specifically to those that are often “forgotten,” is something that has been important to the Crawfords for their entire marriage. Initially, the Crawfords looked for how they could serve in church, whether it was teaching Sunday school, feeding the homeless, or sharing the gospel through the arts.
Both Kim and Denardo felt called to invest in youth, from kids to young adults. Kim’s passion to serve and invest in youth influenced her career as a pediatric occupational therapist, working in home health or in facilities where her patients were often in poverty. Denardo, however, felt torn between his career as an engineer and his calling to serve. After lots of prayer and support from Kim, Denardo made the hard choice to walk away from his engineering career so that he could invest more in the youth that he and Kim served at the Salvation Army.
After several years with the Salvation Army, Denardo returned to his career as an engineer. The Crawfords discussed ways they could serve as the Crawfords, independent of church or career, and centered around who God had created them to be. Since that discussion, their service has taken different forms. It has been mentoring to interns/students in their respective career fields. It has been mentoring young adults trying to find their way in life. It has been starting their own ministry, the ADD Christian, which they use to both teach the gospel and empower young people to explore their relationship with Christ through performing arts. Now with DICE, the Crawfords have another opportunity to serve.
Both Kim and Denardo were taught the value of education from their parents. Kim’s parents chose a Christian education over luxury, an investment that paid off with a full scholarship to Maryville University for the OT master’s program. Denardo’s mother worked two jobs to get him a Christian education in high school, an investment that broke a cycle of poverty that is hard to break for many families. The Crawfords recognize that any education is good education, but with smaller class sizes, the investment per student can have a larger impact. The mission of DICE is one that aligns with the Crawfords’ relationship-long call to serve the forgotten.
Denardo and Kim have been semi-happily married for over 15 years, with a special sense of semi-crazy humor of course. They now have twin daughters and a son. They take pride in teaching their children the same values that they are called to.
AMORY & LAURA SANDERS
Amory and Laura have always been passionate about mentoring and teaching children. Both are in the field of education with a focus on diverse learners. Amory started his educational career as an educational assistant in a special education self-contained classroom and as an assistant coach. He soon became the lead teacher in a special education self-contained classroom, educating and mentoring students with moderate to severe needs. Amory was the Interim Head Basketball Coach for Southwest Community College, where he was able to mentor young men and help them navigate adulthood and sports. He is currently the Head Basketball Coach at Evangelical Christian School, where he can mentor his players through God’s word. Laura started her educational career as a Special Education Teacher in Memphis City Schools. She became the Special Populations Director for a local Charter Network in North and South Memphis. Currently, she is the Director of Instructional Supports for a Memphis Charter School. She is committed to ensuring all students receive a high-quality education, no matter their background.
Christianity has been a major part of both of their lives since childhood. Amory attended church with his mother and brothers throughout his childhood in Memphis. Laura grew up in New Jersey, attending a local church and being involved in the church youth group. Now they ensure their children are growing up learning and growing through God’s word. One way is through a Christian-based education. They feel financial strain is worth the investment in their children’s future. The well-rounded approach to the whole child, including religion, academics, the arts, and sports, has greatly benefited their children. Emma and John love being able to speak the word of God at school and in all aspects of their life, including sports. They come home quizzing their parents on the bible, asking to pray for those in need, and wanting to help others in the community.
Amory and Laura, throughout their careers, have known families who would love to seek a Christian Education for their children. Being a part of DICE allows them to help families in the very communities they work and where Amory was raised. They are excited about their journey with the organization and for the families.