A Focus on Opportunities and Access

06 Aug 2020

Technology and compassion are drivers for the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills

By Lesley Berkshire Bradley  »  Photos by Mollie Tobias

Fallon Brewington understands first-hand the value of Opportunity.

At the age of 16, she grabbed the opportunity to attend the highly competitive residential high school program at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) even though it would take her away from her close-knit family.

The opportunity to access technology and rigorous academics not available in her rural county drove her decision.

“NCSSM changed the direction of my life,” says Brewington.

She has spent the last two decades ensuring others get access to opportunities that can change their lives.

Brewington says her motivation to make things better for other people comes from being a preacher’s kid.

“I get my drive from my Dad. There is always work to be done to make things better for people who need help.”

Her first efforts to help others started in the state credit union securing much-needed loans for members. She worked her way up to an executive position in five short years, while simultaneously earning a Master’s degree in Education and having the first of two children.

Next, she counseled small business owners through the Small Business Technology Development Center at Fayetteville State University, an HBCU, teaching them how to design their own websites, use social media and sell their products using e-commerce.

Brewington continued her efforts to support individuals who are underserved while at Communities In Schools (CIS), which supports youth who face significant challenges that impact their education.

She worked hands-on with the youth in her home county before moving to the CIS home office developing computer platforms for remote training programs serving 21 CIS locations throughout North Carolina.

“I am a techie who loves melding education and technology,” adds Brewington.

“Then I heard that the CEO position at the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills was available and I immediately called,” exclaims Brewington, “I really wanted to get back into hands-on work with youth.”

The Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills is well-established with over 650 Kindergarten-12th grade students in the after-school and summer programs across three locations, managed by 40 staff and nearly 120 volunteers. It is a crucial year-round support mechanism for the children in Moore County.

She knows that children need someone to help clear the path for them before the children can take advantage
of opportunities.

“Our job is, first, to make sure the kids aren’t hungry, and that they are safe. Then, we work with each student to help them find the programs they like and need,”
 she explains.

Each child is different, she explains, and will need and want different things from the Club, whether it is tutoring, learning to manage money, exploring poetry, playing sports or handling problems at home.

Brewington jumped in, upgrading the Club’s online career and college program to help kids find their best path after they graduate high school, implementing key fundraisers and streamlining systems.

But, in March 2020, the Pandemic hit the Boys and Girls Club hard and fast. The school system closed, requiring the Club to turn on a dime and re-focus on providing food remotely to both current Club members and a broad swath of the underserved community impacted by  Covid 19.

Within a few days, Brewington quickly worked with the school system and community members to create a process to make and distribute over 200,000 meals from March until the beginning of the school year.  She quickly built an online portal for community members to place food requests, drivers to access their routes and over 200 emergency volunteers to schedule their participation and shifts.

Once the food creation and distribution were underway, Brewington further leveraged her technology and education expertise to take the existing Club programs and re-envision them as virtual programs. Virtual programming is even more difficult for the Club’s economically disadvantaged members since many of the kids do not have computers or internet access. So, the programming needed to include online and hard-copy versions, as well as a computer rental program.

“Fallon doesn’t see roadblocks,” says one community volunteer, “She just gets
it done.”

And, while managing the COVID crisis for the Club’s youth, feeding the local community, and caring for her own family, Brewington somehow managed to complete the coursework for another advanced degree, a Doctorate in Education from NC State University.

She says she does not need much sleep.

Brewington is also deeply involved in the community. True to form, she is fully immersed as President of the Junior League of Moore County, President of Moore Young Professionals and a Board member for Habitat for Humanity of Moore County.

And somehow, she blocks out time for family… taking her son golfing, helping her daughter with homework, and enjoying a date night with her husband over a glass of craft beer. It is no
surprise that her morning starts with a cold-brew protein frappe from
Java Bean.

‘My husband supports everything that I do. We have managing our lives down to a science. We make a great tag team.”

In addition to being tireless, Brewington may well be prescient. Her dissertation topic, which she chose 2 years ago, investigates how to improve online professional development using virtual reality. Clearly a topic well-suited to this new era of remote education but most important for Brewington, virtual reality will ensure more people have access
to opportunities.

Brewington says she was a Daddy’s Girl. Her father passed away when she was away at NCSSM for high school, so he has not been here to see how she is helping people, but he continues to be her motivation.

“I always make sure that my Dad would be proud.”

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