DETROIT (WXYZ) — He's a teacher turned counselor who's trying to recruit more black men to become educators.
Quan Neloms is gaining national attention for how he's connecting with kids and the community. Part of his inspiration comes from a Detroit-based initiative aimed at retaining and recruiting teachers to the city.
For Neloms, teaching is a passion, and so is hip-hop music. That's why he decided to blend the two. He taught in the Detroit Public Schools Community District for 15 years. Now he's a counselor at Bow School in Detroit. He also started the Lyricist Society where kids use hip hop to change the narrative about their community.
"I was tremendously influenced by hip hop," Neloms said. "It's something I believe made me smarter (and) made me a better student as well."
In January, he's getting ready to launch In Demand, an initiative to attract more black men to roles in education as teachers, mentors and volunteers.
"There's a need for more black men to be involved," Nelom said.
The life-long educator was inspired to create In Demand while he was an ambassador for Teach 313. It's a Detroit-based initiative to recruit, retain and celebrate teachers in the city. The nonprofit is funded by the Skillman Foundation and the Detroit Children's Fund.
"It shows potential teachers what teaching can be," Neloms said.
Chanel Hampton is the founding partner of Teach 313. She spent years as a teacher herself in St. Louis, but Detroit is home. The vision for Teach 313 is to uplift teachers while making Detroit the best place to teach in the country.
In its first year, Teach 313 recruited more than 60 teachers to Detroit charter schools and others in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Hampton says they did that by hosting regional and national hiring fairs, social networking spaces and even offering discounts and incentives on things teachers need through a mobile app. Teach 313 also hosted a national educators summit, which connects educators from across the country with Teach 313 fellows like Neloms.
"Talking to someone already in a school teaching provided a really different prospecting for someone considering coming to school and teaching in the city," Hampton said.
Neloms added that "teaching can be what you make of it. It can be with your passion and interest."
Hampton says the goal for its second year is to bring 100 educators to Detroit. Many of them from across the country. With someone like Neloms in Teach 313's corner, Hampton is confident they'll do just that.
"He has this beautiful powerful platform," she said. "He's able to help spread the word and bring more teachers to the table who look like him and deeply care about our kid."
As for Neloms, he's humble about what he's doing and hopeful about what's to come.
"It makes me feel honored, proud," Neloms said. "And it just gives me so much hope for the trajectory, for the neighborhoods in the city of Detroit."
Teach 313 is having a job fair in December. For more information, click here.
And to learn more about Teach 313, head to http://www.teach313.org/.