Poetry in Motion

Clement Mallory’s love of language led him to a new beginning of hope and service with kids at Partnership Village, a housing community with supportive services for men, women and families getting back on their feet after experiencing homelessness.

A poet by trade, Mallory learned at a young age the importance of reading and literacy and how much of a difference a little “coaching” can make. Mallory grew up at St. Agatha’s Home for Children in New York. While many children in group homes might slip through the proverbial cracks, the sisters of St. Agatha’s took the time to provide Mallory with reading and spelling coaches and instilled in him a desire to learn and to help others. After completing his degree in Political Science at the State University of New York at Oneonta, and learning from the example of the Sisters of St. Agatha’s, Mallory worked as a counselor in group homes, providing assistance to others in need while writing poetry on the side.

Mallory brought his commitment to service to Greensboro in 1999 when he and his wife moved to North Carolina in the hopes of finding a calmer pace. However, the calm was not long-lived for Mallory when he and his wife divorced in 2006, leaving Mallory extremely depressed and ultimately homeless. At this low point in his life, Mallory once again found himself turning to others for assistance and when he met Greensboro Urban Ministry Case Manager Larry King at a poetry reading, he quickly moved into Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Weaver House Night Shelter and then into the Partnership Village apartment community where he worked with King for nine months until he could move into his own permanent housing.

Having overcome such adversity in his life, Mallory felt a sincere desire to help children who might not otherwise succeed. In 2010 while watching the NBA All-Stars game, inspiration struck: “What if, the basketball represented letters, the passes represented words, and the two teams represented metaphors and synonyms?” With this idea, Kids Poetry Basketball began. In the years since, the program has grown through partnership with Guilford County Schools, Greensboro Parks and Recreation, Communities in Schools, and the Salvation Army’s after school program.

Each year, Greensboro Urban Ministry serves more than two hundred households experiencing situational homelessness – that is homelessness that is a result of a devastating life situation. Clement Mallory is one such individual who became homeless as a result of an isolated incident. With a little assistance from Greensboro Urban Ministry, he is not only back on his feet, but is thriving and helping others to do so as well.