After serving as mentors themselves to two young boys, the Stanleys decided that they wanted to create a way for more kids to receive mentorship and guidance. In 2011 the family moved to the Adair Park neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, and founded their non-profit Blueprint 58.
“We had been mentoring two boys and doing some work with kids in the neighborhoods downtown already,” said Becca Stanley, co-founder of Blueprint 58. “And we decided that we really wanted to put in roots somewhere and go deep in a specific neighborhood. So we bought a house, my husband and his dad finished it, renovated it and we moved in and started our mentoring program. So Blueprint 58 is primarily a mentoring and Community Development Program.”
Blueprint 58 is community-based mentoring program that serves the Adair Park and Pittsburg neighborhoods. The goal is to have a positive presence in the neighborhood to help foster community development.
“So our mission is to transform youth into community leaders through mutually transformative relationships,” Stanley said. “And then that kind of happens through sports programming. We have community support groups, we have a mothers’ support group. We have some Bible study groups, and then some like Lunch and Learn ongoing growth kind of groups that we do, the neighborhood does as well. So all of those things have kind of grown out of our family living here and listening to our neighbors and trying to figure out ‘what is it that you guys want and need’ and not what do we come in and think you want and need.”
The non-profit has several different programs aimed at helping the youth of the neighborhoods. These include community groups such as a high school boys Bible study, a girls’ small group and the carver group that focuses on personal development in high schoolers.
The organization also has a mentoring program that pairs local mentors with fourth grade students. There are also sports teams the kids can get involved with like basketball and flag football. The basketball team is for ages 14-18, and the flag football league is 16 teams from their neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. It is a partnership with other non-profits and local churches.
“For mentoring we do one-on-one mentoring relationships, starting with fourth graders at our neighborhood elementary school,” Stanley said. “So we pair students with an adult mentor who will work with them for at least two years, but hopefully longer than that. Usually our mentors will stay longer once they build that relationship. So that’s kind of like the core of what we do or the heart of what we do are those one-on-one mentoring relationships.”
A moms group was also created to help young mothers below the age of 23 find community with other young mothers and learn from older, mentor moms. The group also hosts a yearly beach trip, community Thanksgiving Dinner and a Christmas Event.
With all the work Blueprint 58 is doing, they decided it was time to expand their space. Since the start of the organization operations have been based out of homes or small churches. Now they are beginning the process of building a community building that will allow for more space and more people to participate in their programs.
“We currently do everything out of our house, which is not big, like 1,400 square feet,” Stanley said. “And we have three kids of our own and one on the way. And so we just were like, we need more space to be able to invite more kids in to do more. So we’ve got this big building that’s falling down. We thought we could save it, we can’t.”
This is where Third Lens Ministries comes in to play, as they are helping Blueprint 58 make their plan a reality.
“We’re part of the Plywood Community and they connected us with Brian (O’Neil, executive director of Third Lens),” Stanley said. “So he has been helping us. It’s probably been almost a year now that he’s been helping us as we’ve been walking through like the zoning and getting all of our plans together with architects.”
The building will have a library, tutoring space, a space for meetings and events and housing for staff and transient youth. It will be located in the Pittsburg neighborhood and will cost around two million dollars to build.
“So the design for the building is that the first floor will be a community center, on the second floor our family is gonna live there and then the third floor will be some transitional housing for youth from the neighborhood. So Brian had been helping us figure out our contractor, architects and we had a bunch of zoning changes. Currently, we just applied for our demo permit and are hopefully almost ready to apply for a building permit. So we’re kind of in the middle of actually getting started and he has been helping advocate for us and work with us through that whole process.”