About the Author
Dr. Albert L. Reyes is board member of BEB and serves as the sixth President and CEO of the 141-year-old Buckner International, a multi-service, multi-national child welfare agency serving vulnerable children, families, and senior adults. Below is his personal statement and testimony of why he chooses to support Both Ends Believing.
I became acquainted with Both Ends Burning, known as “Both Ends Believing,” several years ago when I met Craig Juntunen, BEB’s Founder in Washington, DC. His vision was to eliminate the red tape in international adoption impacting his family’s desire to adopt children internationally. Over time the vision shifted to providing infrastructure for developing countries to identify, count, and process vulnerable children and orphans as in their journey from institutional care (orphanages) into families. It was during this time that I had the privilege and honor of joining the BEB Board. Craig’s vision was to engage child welfare leaders in other countries to equip and positively impact their vision for child welfare. The shift in the BEB mission was preceded by the execution of a $1 million grant from USAID, United States Aid and International Development. Buckner International was awarded this grant for use in Guatemala with the goal of transitioning 100 children from an institutional setting into a family whether by family re-unification, foster care, or adoption. Over a period of two years Buckner was able to place over 150 children, ahead of schedule and under budget. The reason we were able to over-deliver results under the projected budget was due to the pro-bono efforts of Tyler Technologies led by Tyler Chief Strategy Officer, Bruce Graham, who provided software, hardware, and training support to identify vulnerable children, gather vital information, and develop tools for the local authorities to rapidly process children back-logged in the system.
I recall the meeting several years ago during a time of transition of the BEB mission. I began to share about the difference Tyler Technologies made in the Buckner-USAID project in Guatemala. The BEB board was very interested and contacted Tyler to engage problems BEB was trying to solve. Today, this collaborative effort between BEB and Tyler Technologies has grown dramatically. Software was customized for use in developing countries such as Uganda, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras. The development and implementation of this program with a fourth country is just around the corner. Children in those countries are identified via an App that can be used with a cell phone to identify a child with a photo, to record vital information, and then upload this information to a database for tracking purposes until they are placed in a family. The software is known as CFS, Children First Software. The impact has been dramatic, resulting in the placement and re-unification of hundreds of children across Uganda, the DR, and Honduras. The programs and processes of BEB in collaboration with Tyler Technologies has moved at warp speed, beyond my IT prowess. All I know is that we have a “Thriller App” to serve vulnerable children by providing Government Child Welfare Agencies in foreign nations primarily in the Global South with the passionate vision that “Every Child Deserves a Family.” BEB is led by Mark Schwartz, President and CEO of BEB, along with a team of outstanding leaders and continued support from Tyler Technologies. This “Thriller App” put BEB on the map in Global Child Welfare. I know of no other organization on the planet that is doing what BEB is accomplishing with such rapid deployment and high level of impact and effectiveness. Their contributions enhance the work of Government Agencies and CPA’s, Child Placing Agencies, like Buckner who desire to see children grow up in safe families.
I enthusiastically endorse the work of BEB and encourage you to learn more about their work at https://www.bothendsbelieving.org. It’s a Thriller App!