Be That Person, a nonprofit youth organization in Lexington, K.Y., invites high school juniors and seniors to “be the person you needed when you were younger.” Their year-long program helps teenagers, particularly those who do not have economic, family or social support systems, transition to adulthood armed with a set of important life skills. Teens in the program learn goal setting, decision making, financial literacy, emotional coping, and other skills from experts. Along the way, they receive mentoring and give back to their community through service projects. Students who complete the program receive a small scholarship.
Be That Person also has a program called “theGiveback,” through which they provide birthday party supplies for underprivileged children ages 1-12. Executive director Nakia Coffman says, “We took our love for children and passion for event planning and made it a reality.”
Be That Person successfully launched and has attained 501(c)3 status. Through their impressive website, teachers and community leaders can now refer teenagers to their program. The organization has also hosted several birthday parties through “theGiveback,” and had made use of social media to publicize their services.
Coffman chose SCORE because it was one of the few programs available to organizations that had not yet filed for 501(c)3 status. Coffman worked with SCORE mentor Barb Ellerbrook. She says, “SCORE has helped me tremendously. With the help of my mentor Barb, we have successfully launched, obtained 501(c)3, and have begun fulfilling our mission. Barb also did a private session with our board to help us efficiently run our organization.”
Ellerbrook also helped Be That Person file their first 990 postcard, a tax document required by the IRS to some small tax-exempt organizations. “She is always more than willing to answer any and all questions that we have,” says Coffman.
Coffman advises others considering starting a small business to jump in headfirst. “Balance passion with wisdom and absorb everything,” she says.