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Nonprofit partners with Velosio to develop Microsoft business app that helps empower underprivileged children

Can technology change the lives of children born into poverty? That’s the thinking of Tony DiBenedetto, a former tech executive and founder of Think Big for Kids, a nonprofit that links underprivileged children with mentors and provides skill and career development opportunities.

To aid in their mission, Velosio developed an app using the Microsoft Power Platform to help Think Big for Kids keep tabs on interactions with the children it helps.

“The vision for our technology started with the tracking…” DiBenedetto said. “We worked with Velosio…to build out an app that’s been incredible.”

But the partnership won’t end there. DiBenedetto sees Think Big for Kids becoming a digital destination for even more children.

“When we look out two or three years, we see ourselves building that destination for kids… And that’s going to require a lot of creativity and a lot of partnering with Velosio,” DiBenedetto said.

In the US, about 11 million children live in poor households. And the pandemic only worsened the issue. Rates of children living with just one parent have remained consistently above the peak during the Great Recession. More than 40 percent of children live in a household unable to pay basic expenses. And between 7 million and 11 million children are unable to eat enough due to costs.

Think Big for Kids focuses on children living in underserved Tampa Bay, Florida, neighborhoods.

The nonprofit was formed out of DiBenedetto and others’ desire to give back to their communities. Its mission is to break the cycle of poverty to get children who go through their program to have twice the starting salary of the average child coming out of those neighborhoods.

DiBenedetto had been working with teens at several Boys & Girls Clubs and saw an overall lack of career awareness and life preparation. At one club, only three out of 80 children raised a hand when he asked if they had plans for education or training after high school.

From their first career showcase in the sixth grade, children are guided by the nonprofit, which finds out their interests by the time they enter high school and learns who their mentors are, said Amy Alley, executive director of Think Big for Kids. Capturing these data points allows the nonprofit to help the children’s involvement in the program and their career journey.

“Technology is needed to do all of those things, to gain those metrics and to be able to serve the kids as best we can,” said Amy Alley, the nonprofit’s executive director.

Leaders at the nonprofit envision future technology they’ll develop with Velosio would allow them to connect with children one-on-one — reaching them at home, school or wherever they are on mobile devices.

Velosio works with organizations of all kinds to modernize the way they analyze data, builds solutions, automates processes and creates virtual agents – all on the Microsoft Power Platform. The Microsoft Power Platform is a low-code and no-code development toolset to maximize the value of an investment in Microsoft, like customizing, extending and building mobile apps, developing automatic workflows and creating business intelligence to enhance Office 365 and Dynamics 365 business solutions.

By partnering with Velosio, great ideas like finding a way to monitor the children in programs at Think Big for Kids get turned into impactful solutions, fueled by Microsoft business applications.


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