Who We Are

The CYCA is the neighborhood association for the Cooper-Young community located in Memphis, Tennessee. In the heart of Memphis- ‘Midtown’, the Cooper-Young community surrounds the intersections of Cooper St., and Young Avenue. Development started here in 1881, making Cooper-Young one of Memphis’s older neighborhoods. The community and the association have a long, vibrant history and are a vital part of the city of Memphis.

Leadership

Meet our Staff

Amanda Yarbro-Dill

Amanda Yarbro-Dill

Amanda Yarbro-Dill, Executive Director

Amanda was born and raised in rural West Tennessee and has lived in Memphis since 2007. She lives in her Cooper-Young home with her husband, Brandon, two daughters, and two dogs. She enjoys walking her kids to school daily, hiking, cooking, attending shows at the Overton Park Shell, and travel. She hopes to bring more opportunities for her favorite combo of activities to the neighborhood — free family fun, as well as community building experiences, and enabling members to use the association as a resource to develop projects and events.

The CYCA Board of Directors

Olivia Wall

Olivia Wall

President

Olivia grew up in southern Nevada and moved to Memphis for graduate school in January 2014. Her passion for the preservation of historic integrity in Cooper-Young sparked her involvement in the CYCA. She has been a Development (Landmarks) Committee member since 2017 and the Chair of the committee since 2020. She has previously served as the CYCA Secretary & Vice President. Her partner, Patrick, is a Block Captain, and they love living in their 1910 southern bungalow with their cat Bling Bling. Her favorite things about CY include porch life, the historic streetscapes, riding her bike in the neighborhood, and volunteering for the CYCA. She enjoys epic road trips, crosswords, audiobooks, plant-based cooking, and photography. Professionally, she works in marketing and holds degrees from Smith College, Memphis College of Art, and the University of Memphis. She is looking forward to continuing to serve the CYCA.

Rachel Shriver

Rachel Shriver

Vice President

Originally from California, Rachel moved to Memphis in 2006 and immediately fell in love with the Midtown area and its good vibes. Together with her husband Ben, they have recently become first time homeowners in Cooper-Young. Rachel enjoys sipping drinks on her front porch swing, listening to live music, and walking her dog Shiloh around the neighborhood.

Tyrina Browning

Tyrina Browning

Treasurer

Growing up in Midtown Memphis, Tyrina could never see herself moving past Highland.  She holds a BBA Finance degree from the Memphis State (U of M) while working full time in the financial industry from which she recently retired after 37 years. Tyrina moved from the Overton Square area to Elzey with her husband back in the 70’s and currently lives on Nelson in a home they had remodeled. She enjoys animals and her family consists of three indoor cats, Raylan, Shaymus and Smokey and one outdoor cat named Callie.
On any Spring night, Tyrina enjoys sitting on the back deck watching her Koi fish swim slowly around the pond. Tyrina loves to bake, piddle around the garden, and travel.  She considers herself a traveler, not a tourist, something her husband helped her discover.

Brian Fay

Secretary

Brian Fay has been the CYCA Secretary since 2023.

Mark Morrison

Mark Morrison

Beerfest Committee Chair

Mark is a native Memphian who left Memphis for about 10 years before returning for a job opportunity 12 years ago. Upon moving back to Memphis, the historic houses and active commercial district led him to buy a house in Cooper-Young. Mark started volunteering for the CYCA about 10 years ago and has been a board member for the past 6 years. In addition to serving as Beerfest committee chair for the past 5 years, he also previously served as the CYCA president for four years. Mark works at Smith & Nephew and enjoys travel, photography, hiking and kayaking in his free time.

Linley Schmidt

Linley Schmidt

Board Member

Linley Schmidt is a proud, native Memphian and has lived her whole life, except for a couple of years here and there, in different parts of Midtown. She currently works as the Public Programs Coordinator at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens but has also worked at Elmwood Cemetery and the Mallory Neely and Magevney Houses. Linley has been a member of the Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe since 2002 and enjoys walking through forests. She also enjoys taking walks through Midtown neighborhoods looking at the beautiful old houses and waving to the people sitting on their porches. Linley also enjoys game nights with her adult kids, Grayson and Alden and loving on her dogs, Rufus and Capra and cats, Obbie and Siam.
Courtney Ratts

Courtney Ratts

Board Member

Courtney, her husband Andrew, daughter Leilani, and dog Clarence moved back to Cooper-Young in Oct 2020. She is originally from Livermore, CA, a Mississippi State alumni, and works in the transportation/logistics field as a director of operations. You may recognize Courtney and her signature pigtails from her years on the track with the Memphis Roller Derby or from her exceptional t-shirt throwing abilities  as part of the Memphis Grizzlies Claw Crew! As a member of the CY board, she looks forward to creating excitement in the community by combining her love of all things local with her enthusiasm for being back in the best neighborhood in Memphis!

Cameron Cooper

Cameron Cooper

Board Member

Cameron moved to Memphis in 2012 to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Memphis and has been enamored with the City of Memphis ever since. Having spent years in various parts of midtown and downtown, Cameron has always felt a deeper connection with the eclectic charm and unique pride that seemed to be present in Cooper Young. Cameron, his wife Libby and son Van, made Nelson Ave their home in June of 2020. As a landscape architect and urban planner, what drew Cameron to Cooper Young was the active walkable streets, proximity to shops and restaurants, and genuine authenticity of the neighborhood and community that people from all over Memphis identify with. Cameron enjoys local beers, getting outside, patio time of any sort, and all things urban design. Cameron joined the board of directors to contribute to the sense of community and place that make Cooper Young a great place to live, work, and play.

Evan Brown

Evan Brown

Board Member

Evan and his fiancé Bridgette moved to Cooper-Young in August of 2022, where Bridgette attends the Cecil B. Humphreys School of Law and Evan joined Mid-America Apartment Communities. Acting in the role of Director of Corporate Sustainability, Evan oversees and coordinates the environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs for MAA.

Evan’s prior experience includes over 10 years in domestic and international development capacities to move communities toward a more sustainable and prosperous future. Evan most recently led the Proposal Design Hub at Heifer International, supporting the creation of programmatic strategy to win external funding that acted as a catalyst for community progress across Heifer’s 20 country footprint. Among other past professional experience, Evan was a United States Peace Volunteer in Lesotho, Africa and has a dual degree from the University of Arkansas in Financial Investments and Small Business Management/ Entrepreneurship. He also holds a master’s degree from the Clinton School of Public Service specializing in monitoring and evaluation of development programs and initiatives. Evan is thrilled to be a part of the CYCA board to progress exciting efforts to support this historic community.

Cheryl Bledsoe

Cheryl Bledsoe

Board Member

Hi! I am Cheryl Bledsoe and I have been a resident of Cooper Young for 18 years! I am a lifelong Memphian and grew up in East Memphis. I knew Midtown was where I needed to be when I went to the zoo and to Brooks as a child. I fell in love with this neighborhood when I was in college and this was home because of the vibe and the festival. Volunteering, gardening and doing my artwork keep me busy. I am Community oriented, so being involved with the CYCA is a perfect fit. I have served on the Board on and off for the last 10 years. My hobbies are gardening, painting, traveling and hanging out in the neighborhood. I would not want to live anywhere else!

Daniel Lynn

Daniel Lynn

Board Member

A lifelong Memphian, Daniel graduated from the University of Memphis in 2007 with a Bachelor’s in Music. He has worked professionally in the music & film industries as an audio engineer for better than 15 years. His resume includes managing and engineering at Archer Recording Studio and providing live sound engineering services at venues across Memphis. Daniel also worked in the service industry for a number of years, which is where he developed a fascination for all things coffee. Learning from local roasters and coffee shop owners, Daniel saw an opportunity to highlight growing coffee community in and around Memphis while also providing a great fundraising opportunity for another passion: the Memphis Sand Aquifer. Proceeds from the GCX benefit Protect Our Aquifer, a local nonprofit dedicated to preservation and education of the Memphis’ most valuable natural resource. If he’s not at the studio or in one of the many coffee shops around town, Daniel can be found at CrossFit Hit & Run, where he is a certified coach, or enjoying a long run.

Jim Wiltgen

Jim Wiltgen

Board Member

Jim and his wife Suzanne moved to Cooper-Young in November 2022.  They have three adult children and all three are currently living with them.  Jim has worked as in Higher Education for about 40 years while most recently serving as the VP of Student Affairs at Hendrix College (AR) for the previous 15 years.  Jim followed his wife here to Memphis when she took a position at St Jude Hospital.  Jim is a dual citizen holding passports for the USA and for Luxembourg.  Jim likes to travel, watch movies, and listen to music.

Mission

The mission of the Cooper-Young Community Association is to form an association of residents and interested parties to work together to make our diverse and historic community a more desirable and safer place to live, worship, work, and play.

History Timeline

Over the centuries, the boundaries of CY have changed in small ways. This rectangle represents what most folks consider to be the CY neighborhood.

A quite delighted and energetic group of employees at Atkins Beauty Salon (966 Cooper) pose for a welcoming picture in the 50s. Courtesy of Sharon Atkins Andreini

Built in the late 1800s, the home of Captain C. L. Harris (2106 Young) was the largest in the neighborhood. When first built, it faced Cooper Street. The house was turned in 1925, using logs and horses, to face Young Avenue and allow the business district along Cooper to develop. Courtesy of Jean McCarley Stevenson
The Captain Harris House still stands proud on Young Avenue just east of Peabody School in 2010. Although it is now divided into separate rental apartments, fine architectural details remain. Courtesy of Emily Bishop
The Peabody/Fleece School in 1910. The brand new neighborhood school was originally named the Fleece Station School (Fleece Station was an earlier name for the area). It was renamed soon after in honor of a donation from philanthropist George Peabody. Courtesy of Memphis and Shelby County Room, Memphis Public Library and Information Center

In the 1930s, Peabody School gained a reputation as a versatile school. During the Great Flood of 1937, the Red Cross arrives to coordinate the housing of flood refugees. Courtesy of Memphis and Shelby County Room, Memphis Public Library and and Information Center

One of the city’s Easy Way markets opened in Cooper-Young in the 1950s. Courtesy of the CYBA

The northwest corner of Cooper and Young during the first Cooper-Young Festival (previously the Cooper-Young Street Fair) in 1988. Notice the Affordable Boat Sales business that still owned and operated from the corner, just prior to becoming a neighborhood bank and later other small businesses. Courtesy of Lizi Beard Ward

A sampling of flags, logos, and looks of the LampLighter, which ran from 1988 to 2020. Courtesy of the LampLighter

The first of four Cooper-Young Historic District signs were installed in 1991 with funds raised by the CYCA Home Tour. Courtesy of the LampLighter

As the Cooper-Young Festival has grown with vendors and community partners, it has expanded in all directions. Here’s the scene in front of First Congo in 2009. Courtesy of Andy Ashby

Hundreds of runners start the Festival Friday 4-Miler under the new Trestle Art in 2008. Four miles later they returned for pizza, beer, and music. Courtesy of the LampLighter

Beth Pulliam may be pointing out the obvious, but she has just bid on a piece of local art – the result of lifting your arm at the Art for Arts’ Sake Auction. This event was held annually at the Young Avenue Deli and the proceeds helped pay for maintenance of the Trestle Art. Courtesy of the LampLighter

The Peabody Theatre at the corner of Cooper and Nelson opened in 1925 to rave reviews and the relief of neighborhood kids. It is now home to the world-famous Memphis Drum Shop that continues to attract musicians from around the world to sample its vast collection of instruments. Courtesy of Emily Bishop