Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta: Forging Relationships & Brighter Futures

May 3, 2017
Portrait of Janice McKenzie-Crayton

We sat down with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA) executive director Janice McKenzie-Crayton, who has been with the organization for 25 years, to talk about BBBSMA’s mission, its past challenges, and its vision for the future.

BBBSMA is a real powerhouse of an organization. For more than fifty years, BBBSMA has provided children facing adversity in the twelve-county metro Atlanta area with strong and long-lasting, professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships — relationships that change families for the better, forever. Each mentoring relationship lasts an average of nearly four years, and data shows that nearly all kids mentored through BBBSMA increase their academic standing and stay out of the juvenile justice system. Mentors will tell you that the program changes their lives for the better as well.

Before the mentoring relationship can begin, BBBSMA staff and volunteers have to screen and match potential mentors and mentees. The process involves handling a lot of data. That’s where TechBridge enters the picture. TechBridge’s relationship with BBBSMA began a few years ago when Accenture chose them for the Technology Innovation Award. The services we provided through the award enabled BBBSMA to ditch a data management system that the staff says was a mess. Matching Littles (mentees) with Bigs (mentors) was a particular pain point involving staff sitting around a table piled high with paper applications.

TechBridge helped BBBSMA implement a Salesforce database and paperless system for volunteer applications, saving both volunteer and staff hours per applicant. Rather than dealing with cumbersome paperwork, they now spend quality time where it counts — talking with prospective Bigs and supporting families. Additionally, BBBSMA is now able to track and report on volunteer and client data much more efficiently. The technology upgrade has saved the organization tens of thousands of dollars in labor and resources.

BBBSMA aims to help even more area families in the future. They estimate that about 500,000 families could benefit from their services, while right now they serve about 2000. To scale up, they’ll need to be extremely efficient with both their time and money. Improved technology will help them do that while allowing them to maintain the person-to-person connection that is a huge part of BBBSMA’s effectiveness. As McKenzie-Crayton says, with better technology infrastructure, they’ll be able to be high tech while remaining high touch.

During our visit to BBBSMA, we heard some truly heartwarming and impressive success stories that really helped us understand how crucial the mentoring and support services that BBBSMA provides are to area kids and families. We look forward to seeing the organization reach its goal of serving more families, and we salute BBBSMA for demonstrating that we’re #BetterTogether.

About TechBridge’s #BetterTogether Campaign

TechBridge is proud to have assisted so many organizations on the front lines of social change in our communities — alleviating homelessness, fighting poverty, helping kids do better in school, making sure seniors get proper meals, and so much more.

We created the #BetterTogether campaign so that we can showcase some of the important efforts of the nonprofits and people we’ve worked with. And because social change is a community effort, we also wanted to showcase the generous sponsors, amazing technology partners, tireless volunteers, and TechBridge staff who enable us to do our work.

We feel that these stories exemplify the transformational work that can happen when organizations and individuals work hard — together — towards a common goal. We hope that hearing these stories is as inspirational to you as it is to us.

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