It was Anthony McCauley’s experience while working as a mentor several years ago that motivated him to launch the Moore County based nonprofit, MALES of Distinction.
While working as the in school mentor coordinator for Moore Buddies Mentoring, Anthony’s job was to match mentors directly with students that could benefit from having a relationship with an outside advisor. However, what Anthony encountered was that many of the young men needing assistance were placed on waiting lists, while volunteer applications were screened, and background checks were conducted.
The solution to the problem first came to Anthony as an idea in 2016. He was inspired to create an organization that provided immediate assistance to at-risk youth.
In 2017, Males of Distinction received their 501(c) (3), nonprofit status. Over the last three years, the program has touched over 60 young men since its inception.
According to their website— “MALES of Distinction is a motivational success program that guides the development and perspectives of males by facilitating research informed and practitioner approved curriculums that will improve social behaviors for at risk males.”
Anthony McCauley, founder of MALES of Distinction. (Contributed photo)
Moore County Focus
Currently, Anthony states that his youth mentoring services are in four schools in Moore County, and he is in search of qualified volunteers to help him expand.
All schools (public and private) in Moore County can participate, and the program is not geared solely towards the African-American community. Any young men in Moore County that are in need of guidance and support are eligible.
Anthony has worked with many young men that have received in-school suspensions, possess low self-esteem and have a history of delinquency. His work helps to give these young men a different perspective on their lives. Anthony mentioned that 90% of the young men he works with are being raised by single mothers.
MALES is an acronym that came from his wife, Corda McCauley, a licensed clinical social worker. MALES stands for “Making Achievable, Life-Enhancing Strides.”
Anthony strives to teach these young men to think differently in their mindset. They are addressing the “school to prison pipeline” and helping students come up to grade level. Anthony stated, “We don’t take the place of school but provide academic support for the students.”
Student referrals come from social workers and word of mouth. Prior to the COVID-19 healthcare crisis, meetings were held at Rufus McLaughlin American Legion Post #177, located in Southern Pines.
Currently, all meetings and mentoring sessions are carried out virtually using the Zoom platform.
And for the young women – “Ladies of Merit”
A program for young women – “Ladies of Merit” was recently launched and focuses on young women in Moore County. “Same program and mentoring model, just for the girls,” said Anthony. The Ladies of Merit program is managed by Marqueta Ruiz Gonzalez.
How can the People of Moore County Help
Anthony is a volunteer with Moore County Schools and MALES of Distinction performs their work without any cost to the students or funding from the schools. As a small nonprofit, grants and private donations allow him to sustain his work; however, fundraising remains one of his biggest challenges.
Being a small nonprofit, the community can help by making a tax-deductible donation, sponsoring a child or volunteering their time to be a mentor.
Anthony currently has six mentor volunteers. For anyone interested in working as a volunteer, applications can be found on their website. All volunteer applicants are required to undergo a background check.
Contributed feature photo: Anthony McCauley and participants in MALES of Distinction.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Maggie Sergio.