Executive Director, Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, Inc. (GMACC)
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: In downtown Brooklyn, Shanduke McPhatter is his community. As a person who has already experienced everything that his community’s youth are currently going through, McPhatter understands wholeheartedly what is needed to get through to troubled teens.
Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, Inc., or GMACC, is an organization that is focused on changing the lives of those caught up in street life, including gun violence, gangs and drugs. McPhatter believes that with a strong and positive support system, young individuals will become motivated and encouraged to improve their lives.
“I used to live in foster homes and I eventually became involved in the streets, which led me to prison,” McPhatter recalled. “So I understand what these kids are going through and I strongly believe that it’s time for a change.”
GMACC continues to influence those surrounded by negativity and allows those who are positively affected to do the same to their peers.
“I remember one of the kids told me that he had thought twice about committing a crime and remembered something that he learned from GMACC. Our aim is to create an astronomical change for these kids. We work with each individual differently because every case is different.”
MOTIVATION: Aside from his personal experiences, McPhatter continues to find motivation from a mentor that he had while living behind prison walls.
“I think to myself, how would I feel as a man if my kids saw me in the field?” McPhatter said. “Speaking to that mentor is what led me to sit back and reevaluate my life and realize that it was time to turn my life around.”
OBSTACLES: For McPhatter and GMACC, one of the biggest obstacles faced is financial. “We have great people that work with us and the kids and are really changing lives, but if they are not supported, they start losing interest,” he stressed.
GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Seeing changes in the lives of the youth population is always a satisfying feeling to McPhatter. “My aim is to give those without a voice a chance to be heard,” he noted.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE: In past jobs, being promoted to a higher title was a norm for McPhatter. “In the course of a couple months of working at a supermarket, I went from being cashier to manager,” he recalled. “At LA Fitness, I went from being a trainer to the manager of the fitness center itself in a short time period. I was always recognized for my hard work.”
PERSONAL LIFE: McPhatter was raised in downtown Brooklyn and currently resides in Prospect Heights. He is married and has two 14-year-old sons, a 17-month-old son and an almost two-month-old son, born on July 18.