The Motivating Youth Foundation to hold 5th annual car raffle
Led by former NFL player and Maconite Roger Jackson, Bibb County’s Motivating Youth Foundation is currently preparing for its 5th annual car raffle. All proceeds gained from the raffle will go toward the Motivating Youth and Omega Psi Phi scholarship funds for local students. This year, the drawing will take place at Mid South Credit Union at 4:00 p.m. on December 23.
Seven years ago, Jackson envisioned a program that would help Macon’s youth build a path toward graduating high school and attending college. Bibb County’s Board of Education had just cancelled thirteen afterschool programs due to lack of funding, and Jackson saw a great need for educational assistance in his beloved hometown. One year later, Jackson’s plans became reality in the form of the Motivating Youth Foundation, which now offers daily afterschool assistance to nearly 250 students in the Bibb County area. Currently located in the Family Investment Center on Main Street, the program emphasizes excellence in language arts and math. “The kids pride themselves (on doing well in school),” said Jackson, “We emphasize how important it is, and the kids have really accepted that.”
With two state-certified instructors leading every class, the program is able to offer individualized attention to each enrolled student. To ensure that every student receives assistance that caters to their personal needs, the instructors maintain contact with each child’s regular teachers and place emphasis on the educational growth that takes place from kindergarten through 3rd grade. “(K-3rd grade) is the most important time in education,” said Jackson, “That’s when (students) build their foundation… if they miss out on building a foundation, then they’re always playing catch up.”
Jackson believes that focusing on these foundational years is one of the best ways to ensure college readiness upon graduation. A majority of the Motivating Youth Foundation’s graduates go on to be the first in their families to attend college, and the program currently boasts around 118 students on the honor roll at their respective schools.
Though the Motivating Youth Foundation has experienced a great deal of success since opening in 2009, Jackson and his team work tirelessly to ensure that the program’s influence stretches as far throughout Middle Georgia as possible. One of the most obvious examples of the organization’s impact in the Middle Georgia community is providing several college scholarships each year using the proceeds of its car raffle. The idea of gathering funds in this way began with the raffle of a donated $1 million home in 2011, but the organization found that this would not be a feasible option each year. This year, the winner of the raffle will receive a choice between a Chevy Camaro, a Chevy Equinox, or $15,000 in cash, and prizes of one $1,000 gift card and one $500 gift card to Ken’s Stereo will be available to the 2nd and 3rd place winners. To date, the organization’s raffles have funded 64 scholarships for Middle Georgia’s college-bound students.
Though Jackson enjoyed a successful career in the NFL playing for the Denver Broncos, he never lost his allegiance to his hometown and community. “Macon is my home – there’s no better place than this,” said Jackson. “There’s a need for young people (in this community) to be shown that they can be successful.” Jackson credits former NFL players such as J.T. Thomas, a fellow Maconite, for encouraging him to pursue a career in football and inspiring him to give back to his community. “(Thomas) always came back and spoke to us young athletes,” Jackson said, “I knew that was part of what I had to do (after the NFL).”
Though the car raffle is an exciting opportunity for one lucky member of the Middle Georgia community, Jackson strives to keep the raffle’s main purpose at the forefront of the event. “I’m just trying to help young kids,” said Jackson. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, everybody needs a little help.”
Raffle tickets are available for purchase online and in select locations for $25 each. You must be 18 years of age or older to participate. For more information on the car raffle and the Motivating Youth Foundation, please visit www.moyofoundation.com.
BY MARY LATHEM