February 3rd, 2023
DECAL Awards New Transformation Grants to 18 Community Groups
ATLANTA, Ga., (February 3, 2023) – The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has awarded new Community Transformation Grants to 18 community collaboratives for initiatives targeting children in the birth-to-8 age group and their families. Another eight groups that received Grants in 2021 will receive additional funds to continue advancing their community projects.
The 18 organizations receiving 2023 Community Transformation Grants (CTGs), ranging from $50,000 to $125,000 each, are: Athens Area Community Foundation; Black Child Development Institute- Atlanta; Brooks County Board of Commissioners; Bulloch County Board of Education; Family Connection Communities in Schools of Berrien County; Food Bank of Northeast Georgia; Greenbriar Children’s Center; Hand, Heart, and Soul Project; Jasper County Family Connection; Men About Change; 9to5 National Association of Working Women; Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale; Pulaski County Schools; Quality Care for Children; Resilient Georgia; Rome Board of Education; Safe Harbor Children’s Center; and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
The eight CTG grantees from 2021 that will each receive an additional $50,000 for their ongoing projects in 2023 are: Baldwin County Board of Education; Cook County Family Connection; Georgia Organics; Greenbriar Children’s Center; Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund; Quality Care for Children; United Way of Central Georgia; and University of West Georgia College of Education Early Learning Center.
“We congratulate and thank the 18 new and eight continuing Community Transformation Grant recipients for developing such worthwhile and impactful initiatives,” said DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs. “Through the 26 Grant awards, DECAL is helping these community partnerships move the needle in serving the most pressing needs of young children and families across Georgia.”
The CTG recipients were selected through a rigorous application process. Representing communities across the state, they each submitted a proposal detailing their experience and capabilities, and the project they planned to develop in response to a focus area that matched an identified need in their area.
The CTGs have a term of 18 months, but DECAL hopes that many of the funded projects will be expanded or scaled-up over time. The Grants were created in 2021 to encourage the creation of early education partnerships composed of community agencies and other stakeholders that would design, tailor, and implement innovative projects to increase access to and the quality of early childhood services and resources. The Grants awarded in 2021 were funded from the three-year, $11.2 million Preschool Development Renewal Grant (PDG) awarded to Georgia by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education and concentrated on children ages birth to 5. For 2023, all 26 Grant awards are funded under the American Rescue Plan and are directed to the birth-to-8 population. DECAL has engaged Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS) to conduct an independent evaluation of the Community Transformation Grant program.
Click HERE to view the full press release.
December 23rd, 2021
Dozens of Local Children Treated to Shopping Trip
A special charitable event organized and sponsored by Men About Change | Women About Change is featured in the WGXA ABC 16/Fox 24 Evening News as the “Feel Good Story” of the holiday season.
By Haley Garrett
MACON, Ga. – One Middle Georgia organization is making Christmas special for dozens of local children.
Men About Change took 30 children on a shopping spree this morning in Macon. Men About Change is a learning center that looks to enhance the lives of young men spiritually, academically, and emotionally, by providing mentorship and role models.
The children had a chance to pick out $100 dollars each from their wish list.
Principals from three local elementary schools nominated children they believed excelled…academic[ally].
“To see the smile on these kids’ faces when they were lining up, to see the anticipation in their faces, to see the anticipation on their parents’ faces, being able to treat them to something special like this. . . It’s a beautiful thing. I hope we can continue to do this in the future,” said D. Michael Padilla, with Men About Change.
The […] event was made possible thanks to the organization’s sponsors and money donated by staff members.
May 10, 2021
PREPARING FOR THE SUMMER
As we prepare for the end of the school year and the start of the 2021 Summer Program, please be advised of the following:
The last day of classes for the Bibb County School District will be Wednesday, May 26th. This is scheduled to be a half-day for all students, unless otherwise expressed by the individual school that your child attends. MAC will be open on that day and will provide transportation from the schools to the learning center at the end of the school day, as usual.
At 5:30 pm on Wednesday, May 26th, MAC will be hosting a Family Day & Parents Meeting. This meeting is mandatory for all parents who have enrolled or plan to enroll their child(ren) in the Summer Program this year. Please contact D. Michael Padilla at 478.201.0421 or email@example.com as soon as possible if you will not be able to attend.
MAC will be closed from Thursday, May 27th through Monday, May 31st (Memorial Day). We will reopen on Tuesday, June 1st at 8 am for the first day of the 2021 Summer Program.
If you are planning to enroll your child(ren) in this year’s Summer Program but have not yet submitted the Summer Program Enrollment Form, please do so immediately, as we will be finalizing the roster soon. If you need a copy of the form, please contact Michael (at the number or email listed above) and let him know.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
April 1, 2021
Registration for the 2021 Summer Program is officially open!
Please note that registration for the program will close on
Friday, April 30th at 11:59 pm.
Click HERE to learn more about this year’s program and view the official flyer.
Click HERE to learn more about MAC’s new initiative, the Summer Apprenticeship & Leadership Program for High Schoolers.
Access the enrollment form HERE.
March 23, 2021
Summer is fast approaching, and we at MAC are truly excited about the wealth of programs and activities we have in store for our summer program participants this year.
We are thrilled to announce that registration for our 2021 Summer Program will officially open next Thursday, April 1st! The open enrollment period will run from Thursday, April 1st through Friday, April 30th. Seats, of course, will be limited, and we expect spots to fill up quickly, so we recommend that you to enroll your child(ren) as early as possible to ensure their spot(s) in the program.
We also strongly encourage parents to complete the enrollment form online–it’s quick, simple and straightforward, completely secure, and ensures that your application is processed and confirmed instantly. Please visit the official registration page beginning April 1st to access the online enrollment form. Parents can also visit the learning center to complete the enrollment forms by hand.
PLUS: in the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing the establishment of a groundbreaking new initiative, one that will fully immerse our high schoolers in a transformative journey that exposes them to the sheer diversity of the potential futures that await them. Be sure to check back soon as we prepare to unveil this powerful new project, the Men About Change | Women About Change Summer Apprenticeship & Leadership Program!
March 3rd, 2021
Our March newsletter, which celebrates Women’s History Month, is now available! Click HERE to access the latest issue.
March 2nd, 2021
CENTER CLOSURES: All public schools in the Bibb County School District will be closed for Spring Break from Monday, March 22nd through Friday, March 26th. As a result, MAC only be open for the first two days of Spring Break.
The center will be open as usual on:
- Monday, March 22nd
- Tuesday, March 23rd
The center will be closed on:
- Wednesday, March 24th
- Thursday, March 25th
- Friday, March 26th
MAC will reopen on Monday, March 29th at 7:30 am. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
February 9th, 2021
MAC is excited to announce that we are restarting our Meal Assistance Program (MAP)! Beginning next Wednesday, February 17th, families can come to the learning center at the Glorious Hope Baptist Church (3805 Napier Avenue) to pick up free meals for their children on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This service is available for all local families who may need it.
February 9th, 2021
Please note that, in observance of the Bibb County School District’s mid-winter break, MAC’s facilities will be closed on Monday, February 15th and Tuesday, February 16th. We will reopen at our regular hours on Wednesday, February 17th at 7:30 am.
February 3rd, 2021
MAC is excited to announce the publication of the first issue of our new official monthly newsletter! To access the February issue, and all future issues, please 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 | Women 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.