Changing Faces serves at-risk young men - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Changing Faces serves at-risk young men

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One man is answering the call to make a difference. A Chicago native fixed up an historic home near downtown Albany and now is opening it as a community center for at-risk young men.

Repairs to the old home at the corner of West Society and North Monroe have been going on for three years, and Jonathan Riggs calls it his passion.

"It's the Paul J. Brown house, and that's how we got on the National Historic Register," Riggs said.

Riggs is proud to show off his home, which he plans to be a center of hope for the mean streets around it.

"We rebuilt this house. We cleaned this corner off, and I'm gonna make sure that nothing happens to nobody," Riggs said.

Riggs moved to Albany from Chicago and said he saw a need, now he is organizing what he calls "Changing Faces", a non profit agency to provide mentoring and education to 12 to 19 year old boys, an at risk time of their lives.

"They go from the kid to the quote, unquote adult, and jail time. We can make a difference, we can, and we must change faces," Riggs said.

Riggs is meeting with churches and other community leaders to fill his home with computers and volunteers like Albany Tech math instructor Ryan Phillips, to help young men develop into more than street thugs.

"There are a lot of students that are just falling through the cracks as far as academics go. Especially math, because that's what I see on a daily basis," Phillips said.

Riggs says from his front porch he sees a lot of lost young men, and he wants to use Changing Faces to help them.

"This ain't no game, man," Riggs said. "But we can make a difference. We can make a difference, but it's up to stand up. And say hello, and say I love you."

Riggs is asking church leaders and the community to help him in his passion to help Albany young men, saying he worries we could lose an entire generation. 

Riggs is asking for volunteers to help him set up basketball leagues and academic instruction for Changing Faces.

You can call him at 229-883-8864, and you can look at his organizational plan HERE and send him an e-mail HERE.

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