Big Brothers, Big Sisters Metro Atlanta addressing post-pandemic need for mentors

Big Brothers Big Sisters Metro Atlanta leaders discuss the “Level Up” mentoring program. From left to right: Kwame Johnson, president and CEO, Trikelia Browning, senior lead mentor, Makayla Marshall, a mentee in the "Level Up" mentoring program, and Kara Stimpson, chief impact officer. (LaShawn Hudson/WABE)

As students returned to school following the height of the pandemic, local middle school principals reported seeing “behaviors they’ve never seen before,” according to Big Brothers, Big Sisters Metro Atlanta.

That’s when the organization stepped in to help students positively adjust to the post-pandemic world. Last year, BBBS Metro Atlanta launched the “Level Up: Future-Focused In-School Mentoring” program. It’s currently offered in Atlanta Public Schools, and some DeKalb County schools and it provides small group and one-on-one in-school mentoring.

In its first year, BBBS Metro Atlanta reported that 94% of students had a trusted adult in their lives, 99% of students avoided the juvenile justice system, 82% of students had decreased or no depressive symptoms, and 74% of students had consistent or improved educational expectations.  

On Monday’s edition of “Closer Look,” leaders from Big Brothers, Big Sisters joined “Closer Look” to discuss the program and the importance of mentorship in the post-pandemic era. Guests included:

Kwame Johnson, president and CEO

Kara Stimpson, chief impact officer

Trikelia Browning, senior lead mentor

Makayla Marshall, a mentee in the “Level Up” mentoring program

Makayla, a mentee in the “Level Up” mentoring program at Big Brothers Big Sisters Metro Atlanta, shares details about the positive impact mentoring has had on her life. (LaShawn Hudson/WABE)