News 12 This Morning / Thursday, June 7, 2012
EVANS, Ga. -- School may be out for the summer, but some Columbia County students are still making time for class. The TMAC program brings them together to learn about life skills.
Since the start, Trevor Welcher has been involved with The Males Advocating Change, otherwise known as TMAC. Fast forward a few years after graduation and college, and now he's ready to take on a different role.
"I serve as a counselor. I've been in this program for 10-plus years now," Welcher said.
It's a program that started as a sports initiative. The founders and mentors extended their outreach beyond the court to teach students life skills and help them stay out of trouble and in class.
"When you look at the statistics, today our kids are dropping out of school, taking education for granted, and we're losing them at a rapid rate," said Gregory Williams, the current president of TMAC.
Welcher added, "The youth is getting worse every day; they need our help."
The group uses creative drills and activities like blindfolding students on the basketball court and giving them a ball to shoot into the hoop. The mentor guides them through the court with their voice and gets them closer to the hoop. The activity helps build trust and skills on how to communicate effectively.
The seminars on anger management, conflict resolution and leadership development helped students like Khadijah Sandifer, who's getting ready to go to college in the fall.
"If you want things done, you have to take the initiative yourself," she said.
Sandifer says TMAC helped her make the right decision when it came to choosing the right friends.
"I had to make the decision whether I want to follow that or be my own person, so I had to break away from them," she said.
This summer, the program wants to recruit more students.
"It is a very challenging time because parents are leaving early in the morning, kids are home, some of them working jobs, some of them not," Williams said.
TMAC hopes to provide them with productive activities and help give them a better shot at a brighter future.
The next TMAC event, a life skills basketball academy, will be held at Fort Gordon. You can find more information on it, including the registration form on their website. Students ages 7 to 16 can participate in the program.