August 19th, 2020
Men About Change is featured on News 41NBC/WMGT.
By Jatrissa Wooten
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) –A local group with a mission to improve academic performance is offering virtual learning options to Macon’s undeserved community.
“Men About Change” has a new program called Virtual Learning Academy. Organizers say the academy is for parents who need to work during the day.
The program’s Assistant Director, Andrease Johnson, says the academy operates like a regular school.
Johnson says students will get breakfast and lunch each day. Computers and other resources will also be provided. Students with learning disabilities can attend as well.
“We have certified teachers, with bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees as well. We have special education teachers that are on board with us as well,” said Johnson.
If parents are concerned about COVID-19, Johnson says staff follows CDC guidelines. He says all staff are current and retired teachers.
According to Johnson, once Bibb County Superintendent Curtis Jones declared virtual learning for the county, he knew parents would need help. Johnson says since the organization already has an after school program why not expand it.
“Because of the pandemic that is going on, we didn’t want to shut down the program. We’ve been going for quite some time so we decided to add that piece to it which was kinda easy because we are already doing those things all we had to do was add the social distancing part,” said Johnson.
The academy is for students K-9, and lasts from 8 a.m to 5:30 p.m Monday through Friday while students are required to learn from home.
The Virtual Learning Academy Program is at Glorious Hope Baptist Church on Napier Avenue.
Registration for both the academy and after school program is open. Johnson says space is limited and there is a weekly fee. For more information click here.
August 7th, 2020
Registration for our new initiative, the Virtual Learning Academy, is officially open for the 2020-2021 school year!
The Academy will open its doors on Tuesday, September 8th (the day after Labor Day) at 8 am.
Register now at www.menaboutchange.com/register.
Please contact us at any time if you have any questions.
July 29th, 2020
We are now officially on LinkedIn! Please visit our new LinkedIn company page at www.linkedin.com/company/men-about-change. Follow us for news, updates, job opportunities, announcements, and content relevant to building the capacities of our youth.
April 21st, 2019
This Middle Georgia program gives hope for a better future for at-risk children.
Men About Change is featured in The Macon Telegraph
By Ed Grisamore
One of my favorite modern-day parables is about the little boy walking the beach at low tide. The sand is covered with starfish. He begins picking them up and tossing them into the ocean.
An old man approaches and asks what he is doing.
“Saving the starfish,’’ the boy said.
“But there are hundreds of them,’’ the man said. “There is no way you can make a difference.’’
The boy reaches down, clutches a starfish, and throws it into the water.
“There,’’ he said. “I made a difference to that one.’’
Dr. Erwin Clowers has been picking up “starfish” for more than 25 years. He has found them standing on street corners, huddled on basketball courts and scattered between the rows of red-brick buildings in public housing projects. His beaches have stretched across the inner city of Macon to the kaolin mines of Wilkinson County, the rolling hills around Monticello and movie backdrops of Covington.
He is making a difference … one at a time.
On Easter Sunday, church pews will be filled with worshipers. They will hear sermons about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It has been a message of hope for more than 2,000 years.
Hope is the cornerstone for Men About Change, a program for at-risk children. Clowers helped found the organization in 1993 and has rekindled it a number of times in a number of places over the past three decades.
Every morning, he reports for work at Riley Elementary, where he is the lead teacher in the Program for Exceptional Children. It’s the job he is paid to do.
Every afternoon, he joins about 10 volunteers who pick up children from local elementary and middle schools and take them to the after-school program at the Glorious Hope Baptist Church on Napier Avenue.
There is no paycheck at the end of the week, but the rewards are everywhere.
“I am trying to make a difference in a child’s life they might not otherwise have,’’ he said.
Looking at their faces, he sees a reflection of himself. He gets emotional when he remembers growing up in Bloomfield and Tindall Heights. Although he was from a single-parent home, he was fortunate to have father figures step in and fill that void.
Teachers and coaches at Ballard-Hudson Middle School and Southwest High School made sure he kept his nose clean and his shirt tucked in. He attended Fort Valley State College, then transferred to Mercer, where he received his degree in finance. He later chose the education field for the opportunity to teach and coach.
In 1993, he was on the ground floor of a new mentor program at McEvoy Middle School. The male teachers got together and called it Men About Change.
“We targeted low-achievers with academic problems because academic problems become behavior problems,’’ he said.
The program had its ups and downs while trying to find its equilibrium in the myriad of social agencies that work with at-risk young people.
He carried the blueprint with him when he held teaching and coaching positions in Monticello and Wilkinson County. When he was hired in Covington in 2012, Men About Change had yet another change of address.
The children sold Krispy Kreme donuts to raise money. It they behaved, worked hard and kept up their grades, he often got tickets to Atlanta Hawks, Braves and Falcons games.
Clowers took two sixth-grade boys under his wing – Daniel Lavelle and Antoine Davis.
“My dad passed away when I was 10, so Dr. Clowers was like a dad to me,’’ Lavelle said “He molded me into the man I am today. He taught me how to present myself, how to tie a tie, to be places on time and how to talk to people.’’
When Clowers returned to teaching in Bibb County, Lavelle and Davis joined him. Lavelle will graduate from Mary Persons High School on May 24. He is now 6-foot-4, 260 pounds and received more than a dozen college football scholarship offers. Clowers drove him to his summer football camps. He signed with the University of Akron.
Davis practically was homeless until Clowers became his legal guardian. He was a sixth-grader reading on a second-grade level. In middle school, when he had no place to lay down his head at night, he often slept in an arena across from the school
Clowers worked closely with Roger Jackson, executive director of Motivating Youth Foundation in east Macon, to get Men About Change jump-started again five years ago. His son, Antowin Clowers, a former walk-on football player at the University of Georgia, also has helped him with the program.
Now, more than 60 elementary and middle school students gather after school on weekdays at Glorious Hope Baptist. They enjoy a hot meal, participate in character building exercises and keep pace with their homework. Sometimes, Clowers sends the boys across the street at Brookdale to get haircuts. On Wednesdays, the young people have a bible study with Glorious Hope Senior Pastor John Herring.
Men About Change (MAC) is no longer exclusive to males. About one-third of the students are young ladies, so now there is Women About Change, too
“We’re no longer just MAC,’’ Clowers said, chuckling. “We’re MACWAC.’’
There always will be starfish.
Ed Grisamore teaches journalism at Stratford Academy in Macon. His column appears on Sundays in The Telegraph.