In 2016, Jerrod Echols and his wife Krystle started the Melanated Community Stimulation Project, Inc. (MCSP) to help promote financial literacy, positive community and self-image, educational opportunities, and more.
Echols says that the organization has partnered with BB&T and Operation Hope, an outreach of the Buck Melton Community Center, to offer financial literacy programs to individuals in the Macon’s African-American community.
MCSP doesn’t only focus on financial education, though: “We’ve been feeding the homeless, giving out clothes, and feeding people for Thanksgiving,” Echols adds. Echols says MCSP were able to feed about 36 people in Macon this past Thanksgiving.
According to its Facebook page, the Melanated Community Stimulation Project’s mission is “to truly make a difference within our community, and eventually branch out to all communities to make all people of color PROUD to be who they are, and the skills, chance, & mindset to not only do better…but to BE BETTER!”
The MCSP recently started a program mentoring to young men and women between the ages of 7 and 17. The name of the program is “IAM,” which is an acronym for I Am More.
“We’re going to teach the young men courtesy, etiquette, and integrity–which is a big thing, taking responsibility for what you’re doing in life. We also have some ladies teaching the young ladies self-respect and dignity, as well,” Echols said.
In line with MCSP’s larger goal, the mentorship program will also focus on financial literacy for young people: “We’re teaching kids how to be proactive with finances instead of reacting to them,” Echols explains, “and with BB&T Bank we are getting them bank accounts early to help them learn about savings.”
Echols’ goal is for MCSP to become a staple of the community here in Macon, to be a resource known for more than just giving handouts. He wants to put out independent thinkers who contribute back to the community. “We are teaching them the tools to be able to work on their own,” Echols says.
He continues to describe the requirements of the mentorship program, including “a willingness to actually be molded.”
Echols adds that they encourage parents to stick around for the programs and help out so they can encourage a parent and child bond. “We want to encourage the family structure,” he explains.
Echols says that MCSP caters to families from Middle Georgia all the way to Atlanta. “Any way that we can help the community, we try to get out and do as much as possible. That’s our passion, that’s really the only requirement — to have the drive to help another. Our slogan is each one, teach one.”
As of right now, MCSP does not have a home office, but the organization says that it is their goal to have a brick and mortar location soon. In the meanwhile, the organization continues to lend a helping hand and promote unity with their community service actions.
Their next community event will be held on Saturday, June 8th from 1-4 pm at the entrance of Central City Park in Macon. The organization will be providing free meals to the hungry, handing out survival packs to the homeless, and giving out free clothes to anyone who may need them. Volunteers are welcomed!
If you would like to learn more, donate clothes or canned goods to the food pantry, or volunteer with the Melanated Community Stimulation Project, Inc., follow the organization on Facebook at the Melanated Community Stimulation Project, Inc., page, or reach them by telephone at (470) 236-3526. To make a monetary donation, you can use the following link: squareup.com/store/mcsproject.