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June 08, 2016  -  By M. Scott Morris  Daily Journal   /  Elvis Express Radio
TUPELO – Elvis Presley left a legacy of entertainment, but that’s not all.

“Elvis was born in poverty, but he didn’t turn out that way,” said Dick Guyton, executive director of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation.

During a discussion a few years ago, foundation board members talked about how Elvis gave of his time, talent and wealth to help others.

Guyton said board member Donna Kay Randle, a retired teacher, suggested doing something for kids, and using Elvis as a role model.

“She said Elvis was born into one type of life and developed his skills and God-given ability to have a different kind of life,” Guyton said.

The decision was made to commission a short film. “Dream the Dream: From Hopelessness to Hope” is geared toward third-grade classes that visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace and

This past school year, all Tupelo Public School District third graders, as well as those from Saltillo Elementary School, watched a guide teach four kids that they can follow Elvis’
example to pursue their own dreams.

The story was co-written by Randle and Chuck McIntosh, who also directed. It points out how Elvis was different from other kids, but that was OK. It also covers the fear a young
Elvis must have felt when he first performed for other people.

“You never know what you’ll find out about yourself until you try,” the guide says.

After “Dream the Dream,” board members wanted to tell another story.

“Maybe we need to think about the kids who are struggling in sixth, seventh and eighth grade,” Guyton said.

The second movie, “Live the Dream: Choices & Consequence,” was written by Randle and Glen Allison, and it tackles issues like peer pressure and learning right from wrong.

“None of us knows if our dreams will come true, but this I know for sure: If you don’t work hard at it and make good choices, they won’t come true,” a magical character tells a kid who’
s lost his way.

“Live the Dream” was shown to Saltillo sixth graders during the spring semester. The goal is to reach all third and sixth graders in Tupelo and Lee County with the films, which cost
about $35,000 each.

“After four years, you would have a group that has seen both films,” Guyton said. “Hopefully, they’d remember what they learned.”

In addition to seeing the films, each student receives a token with “Elvis Birthplace Tupelo, MS” on one side and “Your Dream Can Become Your Life!” on the other.

“Elvis was always willing to give back,” Guyton said. “That’s the inspiration.”
Dick Guyton, executive director of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation, holds tokens meant
to remind kids of what they learned by watching two movies at the Birthplace. “Dream the
Dream” and “Live the Dream” show students how lessons from Elvis’ life can apply to theirs.