G.A.I.N. – powered by Lowe’s
As part of the inaugural G.A.I.N. cohort, Youth Development Initiatives has completed their technology assessment and plan phase.
Youth Development Initiatives (YDI) provides caring adult connections and life guidance to disadvantaged adolescent youth. YDI scholars engage in an individualized development process that combines project-based learning applications with real-world learning experiences to build critical life skills, career planning and post-secondary education preparedness. YDI strives to lead the way in ensuring ALL youth live in stable and caring communities where they receive meaningful educations, develop vital life skills and engage in essential social capital-building opportunities that ultimately result in successful futures.
YDI was matched to a corporate volunteer team from EY, who conducted their tech assessment and provided a plan with recommendations for improvement. EY is also a generous sponsor of the G.A.I.N. program.
The YDI, EY and Apparo team kicking off.Because of this Community Impact Project, YDI anticipates being able to meet their goal to grow by 25% in the next year. That’s 80 more young adults, including many who have been through the juvenile justice system, who will get the support they need to not only graduate high school, but also be well-positioned and confident to embark on a career with 21st century job skills and readiness.
Upon completion of this project we checked in with Darryl Bego, President/CEO of YDI to learn about the anticipated impact of this project and the significance of YDI’s participation in the G.A.I.N. program. He shares, “Adolescents are an underserved population and it’s the time in their lives that they need the most help. Nothing motivates me more than seeing that lightbulb go off for a kid who previously just saw a life of darkness. I’ve averaged 3.5 hours of sleep a night for the last 7 years. We’re chasing outcomes and organizational stability. It’s not sustainable and that’s why opportunities like this from Apparo come along.”
Implementing online forms and improving file structure protocols will save 300+ hours a year of administrative time and help with files and data needed for fundraising.
When it comes to management of forms, Darryl shares, “This is a nightmare for us, our referral partners and our families. For our families, having forms in Google Docs is really a chore and it can be like pulling teeth for us to get them filled out.”
- Enrollment forms – Darryl explains that having families complete enrollment material online will save an hour per client (with 40 clients per program in 8 programs, that’s a 320 hour annual time savings.)
- Assessment forms – Provide critical data needed for funders, so ensuring families can fill them out easily will help bolster fundraising.
- Referral partner forms – Current PDF-based process is tedious for them. Improving this process will help ensure all programs remain full, especially as YDI grows.
Implementing new file structures will also help save significant time and ensure access to materials needed for fundraising. As a result of saved time and better access to the data they need, they will be better positioned to demonstrate impact and uniqueness, helping them compete for funds/grants.
Bringing curriculum online will improve training, broaden reach and minimize intellectual property risk.
Currently, all training is done in person and curriculum is shared via a thumb drive hand-off and hard copies. Moving curriculum online will ensure richer, more consistent training and broaden access to facilitators who could not travel to YDI offices. Elimination of thumb drives and hard copies will help secure YDI’s intellectual property.
Implementation of these recommendations will help YDI achieve their goal of 25% growth in programs in 2021 and an additional 40% in 2022.
Darryl explains that they currently run 8 program (serving 40 students each) and would like to expand to 10 in 2021 and 14 in 2022. With freed time and ability to train new facilitators remotely, YDI can expand into new geographic areas. Having curriculum online will also allow YDI new licensing and partnership opportunities.
With additional funds and more programs, Darryl hopes to be able to extend their support to students in their program for a second year, which is proven to drive significant increases in graduation rates.
Words of appreciation were shared by the project team members.
Darryl – “If it wasn’t for G.A.I.N., we would have just continued on as we are because we don’t have time to stop and pause. We would have continued to roll on the half- flat wheel. This has been a very beneficial process for me.”
“In the midst of a high stress time of year, this has been an oasis experience: an oasis of positivity, helping us look forward. I don’t always get a chance to do that because I’m in the weeds, looking at the present without getting a chance to dream. This G.A.I.N. experience and my relationship with Apparo and EY has allowed me to sit back and dream again. That’s really important in this work. The time dedicated here was very worthwhile. I am eternally grateful and thankful. It’s such a good thing you are doing. There are a lot of nonprofits that struggle with hope. It’s elevated my spirits and elevated my hope.”
Zach Taylor, volunteer, EY – “Your energy, passion, and positive attitude made such an impact on me and I’d be honored to support you and your organization in the future. I really believe in your cause and am so happy we were aligned with your organization on this project. I look forward to seeing your program grow.”
Amy Kochan, volunteer, EY – “I’ve been involved with Apparo for 12-13 years. Apparo plays a role that no other organization does in Charlotte, connecting the dots between those that need and those that have; those that have that technology skill set and those that could benefit from being empowering by technology. So, kudos to Apparo for all that you’re doing.”
Jon Shannon – Volunteer Change Agent – “I really enjoyed working with Youth Development Initiatives, Apparo, and EY on this project. It’s great to see dedicated people making such a positive impact.