Our Story

Paying it Forward

Austin Scee was matched with Mike Gandy in 1997 by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta. The relationship was very fulfilling for both Austin and Mike. In 1999, Austin moved from Atlanta to Boston for business school. Mike visited Austin on campus, and had a chance to see what was possible in his life. Mike went on to graduate high school with honors, attended Colgate University, then worked on Wall Street before ultimately following in Austin’s footsteps, earning his MBA at at Harvard Business School in 2016, fifteen years after Austin.

After business school, Mike moved back to Atlanta and the two were finally living in the same city again for the first time since 1999. They reflected on how much the mentor / mentee relationship had meant to them, and wanted to find a way to deliver mentorship to as many disadvantaged kids as they could. They realized the one-to-one mentorship model is extremely difficult to scale. 

Then inspiration struck when Austin took his son to a local karate camp during winter break in January 2017. Austin watched Trey, our first Sensei, sit down on the mat with the kids and talk about core values for 30 minutes before starting any instruction. 

Eureka! 

Martial arts senseis can mentor 50 or more kids at a time. Martial arts practices are based on a set of core values – self-control, resilience and respect – and senseis teach these values along with physical techniques for a living.  Those elements are the foundation of our sustainable, scalable mentorship model.

Be a Hero!

For only $500, you can sponsor one of our kids for a year.