Bench Mark Program
Bench Mark Program is a strength-based family of mentors who use exercise, academic coaching, and career counseling to propel at-risk youth toward successful futures.
Prior to the grant from First NonProfit Foundation, BMP had no system for tracking/compiling student attendance records at its gym facility at 341 East Liberty Street, Lancaster PA 17604. The grant money allowed BMP to install a modern attendance tracking software (similar to what exists in most for-profit gym facilities) to track and monitor attendance of its students. The desktop and door-mounted software, when combined with a modern camera system, allows BMP to track each student’s attendance and their activities while they are engaged in the program. These powerful reporting tools allow the organization to better understand who it is serving and how exactly it is serving these individuals. Reports generated by the software make it easy for BMP to communicate back to probation officers, school counselors, and therapists when asked for updates on program participant’s progress and engagement with mentors in the facility.
First and foremost, this project serves BMP participants by empowering them with exclusive key fob access to the program facility. The existence of the key fob/attendance tracking software helps participants recognize that they are part of a unique program, and this sense of “belonging” is transformative for many participants who do not feel welcome in other organizations.
Secondly, this system benefits BMP staff who are now able to understand who is attending the program, and how they are engaging with staff. Some students engage in physical fitness programming more often than academic or career-related programming. Tracking these tendencies help staff understand which students require more support in certain areas. Reporting of participant attendance and activity also helps BMP staff craft fundraising proposals for organizations who are seeking a better understanding of the day-to-day operation of the organization.
Thirdly, this system benefits probation officers, therapists, and counselors who refer participants to BMP but have historically been unsure of how often those participants actually attend and engage in program services. Clear reports of attendance and services provided help these service providers understand the value of BMP.
Fourthly, this system is beneficial to donors and other supporters who want information about how many youth are participating in BMP and what services are being provided. They can review attendance records and even watch recorded camera footage of students interacting within the program.
Fifthly, this service benefits families who want to make sure that their children who are participating in the program are in a safe and secure environment. The attendance software allows us to lock-out individuals who are not invited to the program and who do not possess a key fob. Camera recording helps ensure that no inappropriate activity is occurring within the facility and that all interactive between staff/participants is monitored.
The installation and operation of attendance/security software has improved BMP’s ability to track student attendance outcomes. In turn, BMP can now report back to its supporters exactly how many students are being served, and which day-to-day program activities are most engaging to students. The ability to document progress enables BMP to apply for greater funding opportunities by supporting its claims of increasing student engagement with data and video evidence.
Due to the ease with which attendance software and security camera software can be installed and operated, this project can easily be replicated at other BMP gym facilities in the future. Currently, BMP’s second gym facility in Lancaster City (660 Lafayette Street, Lancaster PA 17603) could be considered for such a project. However, permission must be granted from the building landlord before commencing such an installation.
Moving forward, BMP will continue to depends on this software/security combination in order to track and monitor its student body.