Thomas and Tonya Clem, the founders of Metro Atlanta Chess Partners, Inc. (MACP), believe the game of chess is an excellent teaching and learning tool for fostering clarity that helps encourage youth to succeed; and is an avenue where underserved youth can be recognized on a national platform through tournament competition. Thomas and Tonya have a desire to see their four children succeed academically and this is also a driving force in their introducing to and teaching other children the game of chess. Both Thomas and Tonya have observed in their four children, how learning the fundamentals of chess have improved their verbal communications and self-discipline. All of their children regularly play the game of chess and compete in tournaments.
Thomas Clem, CEO of MACP, is uniquely qualified to teach underserved youth having both lived and worked at Carrie Steele Pitts for 10 years as a residential counselor to children who have experienced some of life’s most difficult challenges and whose behavioral patterns were poor. Thomas has a personal understanding of the rebellion witnessed in many of today’s youth having rebelled in his young years due to hard circumstances of his own.
Tonya Clem is Vice President of MACP and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Early in her life, Tonya became interested in human behavior and mental processes. While Tonya had the field of social work in mind as a career objective; as her own family began to grow, she realized a greater benefit in watching her children develop and introducing them to sound principles and values. Tonya is interested in outreach to youth and their families; making herself available to help them connect to resources that will strengthen and empower their lives.
Thomas and Tonya's participation in structured programming that researches the mental health effects of families exposed to poverty has been a compliment to MACP and its mission to use the principles of chess to help bridge the educational gap in youth from underserved areas by teaching them the game of chess and encouraging them to compete in local and national tournaments.
MACP aims to extend the opportunity to play the game of chess to every interested child, and make it possible for underserved children to benefit from the effects of the game.