One-Year Virtual: Celebrating Keeping Kids Connected

One year ago, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee pivoted to virtual operations as a result of the global pandemic. And while that pivot brought with it many new changes and challenges, one thing that stayed the same was our laser focus on youth. Our team quickly, yet effectively went into full creativity and innovation mode to achieve so many incredible things that, through the generosity of our supporters, have enabled us to continue to serve our youth as well as scale the impact of our mentoring programs.
My BBBSMT Family, it’s been a year.

One year ago, we made the decision to move our team to remote work and at that time, I truly thought our remote status would be short-lived. The realization of what it means for a community to live through a pandemic was like waves crashing over us. Each day brought clarity that we, and by we, I mean our worldwide community, were heading into an extended period of unknown.

The time called for leaders and visionaries to step up. And as such, our board and staff remained calm, and we began to search out new opportunities and solutions. We made the decision to keep our eyes on the long game, focusing on strategies that would best support our young people in the long term, not just in the moment.

As we crafted our solutions, we had three key priorities. First was to support current matches in staying connected. Second, we aimed to match as many young people as possible with a quality mentor. And finally, we focused on evolving our program delivery to weather change, increase efficiency and excite our community.

One year later, allow me to share the details.

We know that we are #BiggerTogether, and so we’ve built substantive partnerships to leverage our collective strengths.

  • We are working with Metro Nashville Public Schools at the district level to embed mentoring into the schools. In the 2021-2022 school year we estimate this partnership will provide nearly 400 students with mentors.
  • Meharry Medical College has selected BBBSMT as the preferred community service partner for their Bloomberg scholarship recipients, addressing our critical need for more Black mentors.
  • We’ve linked arms with New Beginnings to launch an 8-week virtual program for parents focusing on their overall physical, mental and spiritual wellness.
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Physical distancing guidelines created an opportunity to harness the power of technology to create more flexibility and options for Bigs, Littles and families.

  • MentorHub is a new text-based mentoring app that we are embedding across all our programs to augment communication in the mentoring relationship.
  • Mentor Corps Fellowship matches corps members with a group of young people to provide one to one mentoring while supporting college persistence, workforce development and serve as a talent pipeline for the agency.
  • Big Cousins aims to end the need for Littles to spend time on our waitlist while we find the Big they’ve requested. Mentor Corps Fellows serve as a Big Cousin for up to ten young people through a shared interest model of ongoing and regular engagement.

For adults, the last year has been filled with external and internal challenges. Our young people experienced the same through an unprecedented experiment in schooling and interacting. As we mark the one-year anniversary and I evaluate the evolution we’ve experienced as a community, resilience is the word that comes to mind. It’s been tough and hard and yet here we are with strong backs, open hearts and our eyes focused straight ahead.

Defending the potential of our young people is our north star and we will not divert course.

Onward and upward together,


Support us in continuing to invest in Middle Tennessee youth by making a donation or becoming a Big today.