Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast offers local companies and their employees a unique opportunity to give back to the community through its workplace mentoring initiative, Beyond School Walls.
In this program, companies host students from a nearby high school at their place of business to help them develop career-building skills and create and pursue viable future goals. Students shadow mentors and explore business pathways, giving them the opportunity to experience what it means to work for a corporation, learn business etiquette, and identify educational requirements for professional success.
Gulf Coast Community Foundation helped Big Brothers Big Sisters launch the new initiative, which kicked off in November by matching students from Venice High School with senior staff members at Venice Regional Bayfront Health. Last month, the agency expanded the program to Riverview High School and local health-innovation company CAE Healthcare Sarasota. During the school year, CAE Healthcare staff will mentor Riverview students one-to-one each month for half-day sessions.
At a special event at CAE Healthcare Sarasota to introduce students to their new mentors, Gulf Coast President|CEO Mark Pritchett said, “We thank Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast for giving our students a head start so they can compete in the world economy.”
“We thank Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast for giving our students a head start so they can compete in the world economy.” – Mark Pritchett, Gulf Coast Community Foundation
Big Brothers Big Sisters shared some impressive results of Beyond School Walls in other communities where it has been implemented:
• 93% of students gained knowledge of career opportunities
• 84% of students found it important to work as a team to accomplish a goal
• 96% of students were able to avoid risky behaviors such as truancy, delinquent acts, and substance abuse
• 88% of students have maintained or improved social-emotional competencies, such as relationship skills and self-esteem.
This mentoring experience increases student motivation to achieve academic progress, graduate from high school, and fulfill higher-education and career goals.