Ken Bennett started STREETS Ministries in1987, after entering the South Memphis neighborhood of Cleaborn and Foote Homes. He served as its Executive Director until February 2014 when he started SOUL for the city to train, empower and resource youth leaders throughout Memphis. SOUL is a ministry of Streets.
Ken has his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Memphis. Ken has been married to Debbie for over thirty years. Debbie is the Testing Coordinator at New Hope Christian Academy in Frayser. They have three children: Kristin, Matthew and Emily.
Ken has received the following awards:
1993 Lyndhurst Prize Winner (previous winners include Maya Angelou and Alice Walker)
2002 East Memphis Rotary Club Citizen of the Year
2003 Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Community Service Award
2008 President’s Humanitarian Award Memphis Theological Seminary
2009 President’s Award Memphis Cotton Carnival
2011 University of Memphis Distinguished Alumnus Award
Publications and Features:
New York Times 1992
Atlanta Constitution 1992
Memphis Flyer Cover 1995
Memphis Magazine 1996
University of Memphis Magazine 1997
Featured in the German Non-Fiction Book: Is America Working?
2004 ESPN 2 Special: Featuring Antonio Burks
2004 Book: Street Saints
2008 France Newspaper Liberation
2004-2018 University of Memphis Men’s Basketball Team Chaplain
New Hope Christian Academy Board Member
Las Americas Board Member
Ruth Abigail Smith (aka RA) was born and raised in Houston, TX. Graduating from Furman University in 2009, she earned bachelors degrees in both communications and music. Moving to Memphis in 2010, she has served as an Education Coordinator at Streets Ministries, focusing on both middle school and high school students. In 2014 she transitioned to her role at SOUL For The City where she helps to train and develop the next generation of youth outreach workers. She is also a co-founder of Angel Street Memphis, a mentoring and music program for girls. She currently sits on the board as the Programs Chair, where she is involved in supporting the creation and further development of the unique programming Angel Street is able to provide. RA firmly believes that change in our city is possible through the transformational truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the dedication of faithful leaders for the next generation.