A few weeks ago, I ran into one such young man, Jermaine Malcom. Jermaine and his family came to San Antonio from Jamaica when he was a high school freshman. A soccer player in Jamaica, Jermaine joined the football team at Holmes High School and later attended Illinois State University on a football scholarship. After graduation, he returned to San Antonio determined to use his degree in Recreational Management to make a difference. Jermaine formed his plan, completed his 501(c)3 papers, and is now into the real work of making his nonprofit--RecChanges--a reality.
RecChanges stands for recreation changes. It is a fact, keeping active promotes a healthy lifestyle, both physical and mental, for all ages. Jermaine explains recreation as any activity that gets you off the coach. It can be walking, gardening, soccer, basketball, interacting with your neighbors... "Focusing on the development of communities by facilitating positive interactions within its population, RecChanges plans include a website that serves as a forum where people can find activities in their own neighborhoods," Jermaine explained.
RecChanges board is composed of Jermaine's former teachers and coaches, and friends--people who see him as a determined person with a level of energy that makes things happen. Board member Lottie Montez, a long-time friend of Jermaine's, gave me some insight into the conviction of her involvement with RecChanges. "I believe strongly that children and youth who stay active stay out of trouble," she said. "I'm sure Jermaine's and my involvement in sports helped us succeed by the discipline and values we learned. We are passionate in passing that along to our communities."
"An important component of RecChanges is the opportunity to coordinate with other nonprofits or businesses who are interested in wellness and community building," Jermaine said. An example of the kind of project collaboration with which RecChanges is engaged is the transformation of an empty lot on Nolan Street between Healy Murphy and the Salvation Army. Where right now there is just dirt and drug deals, plans are to make the park a place safe for children and neighborhood activities. Meeting with representatives of both organizations, Jermaine has been given the green light to lead an effort to clean up the lot, begin a community garden, and plan for some art or sporting events.
Realistically, RecChanges is in need of marketing tools to raise awareness. Things like a logo, business cards, banners, public relations and a dynamic website. This would be the perfect way for volunteers to help a good cause and make some touchdowns in the business of building community.
Like the RecChanges Facebook page or contact Jermaine at firstname.lastname@example.org
San Antonio activist and nonprofit veteran Laura Carter believes in enabling the community to work from the heart, not just the wallet. Laura is currently Communications Director at Providence Catholic School where her job includes working with traditional, creative and social media public relations and marketing.