Universal Achievers Foundation (UAF) was recently recognized by Shelby County (TN) Schools and the Memphis Office of Youth Services (MPLOY) Youth Summer Employment Program for assisting 91 high school interns using the BrightShift virtual learning environment.
UAF successfully and safely conducted its financial literacy and auto body shop program using BrightShift's distance learning and secure video conferencing features.
UAF is a nonprofit organization located in the poverty-stricken Frayser area. It provides a citywide youth initiative for online summer job registration and connects youth to local businesses for potential internship opportunities.
"BrightShift has been a godsend," said Tangua Houston, executive director, co-founder and instructor of UAF. "We're black-owned. Black-operated. We hit the ground running and we're still running."
Like many other organizations, COVID-19 created obstacles to communication and operations for UAF. Feeling the pressure to find a solution to safely continue the mission in spite of local gathering and school restrictions, Houston turned to BrightShift.
"We can't do this," said Houston, recalling her concerns during session planning. "We need a virtual platform."
UAF's mission to support youth in psycho-motor and conceptual skill development, with emphasis on nurturing all student potential, aligned with BrightShift's core values of collaboration, community and ingenuity. John Sotiros, founder and CEO of BrightShift Inc., contacted Houston directly and delivered the software straight to her team.
"He loved the passion we have for our community," said Houston, recalling her communication with Sotiros. "I love the fact that the CEO of the company took the time to demonstrate and then videotape our session---for when I needed to go back on my own—to set myself up and set the students up to use BrightShift."
BrightShift's features were able to support UAF's brain-based learning approach with strong operational emphasis on communal and partnership oriented change. BrightShift's virtual classroom functionality offered the flexible, user-friendly experience they needed.
"We can actually have them log in to see Mr. Mason, the co-founder and instructor for UAF, show how theory applies in the shop. They will actually see him paint the car," said Houston, who found the platform had a short learning curve and fulfilled UAF's accessibility requirements.