MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - There is a lot of controversy surrounding the Macon Promise Neighborhood, but what is its mission?
MPN is a promise to the Tindall Heights and Unionville communities.
"The Macon Promise Neighborhood is the Macon community coming together to focus its resources and its energy toward a troubled community," MPN Executive Director Cliffard Whitby said.
A troubled neighborhood Whitby says needs a lot of help. Two years ago, MPN earned a $500,000 educational federal planning grant to kick off the initiative. It focuses specifically on the four schools in the area: Ingram-Pye and Hartley elementary schools, Ballard Hudson middle school, and Southwest high school
"These are the lowest performing schools in the district and its quite fitting that the non-profit community gathers its resources and focus on these two neighborhoods and do what they can to support them," Whitby said.
MPN will offer the basic needs for these communities, like adult classes and healthcare. MPN says its biggest challenge is making these services accessible. Planning grant manager Dr. Peter Brown says that's why they will locate the resources in two convenient locations at the historic Ballard Hudson middle school and the Buck Melton Community Center.
"This is a place where they're welcomed and they can find resources they know are good for them and their family," Brown said.
MPN's goal is to earn the big award: a $28 million dollar federal grant to go towards the promise neighborhood over the next five years. In December, MPN found out it didn't receive the grant, but Brown says they're not giving up.
"This is about a community coming together with the school system to make a difference for these families and children and it needs to be done," Brown said.
And that's a promise MPN intends to keep.
One of MPN's goals is to increase the graduation rate at Southwest high from 38% to 75% over the next five years.