Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Comcast Corporation have entered into a three-year, $10 million partnership that promises to make a measurable difference in the lives of some of America's most vulnerable children.
Comcast will provide Big Brothers Big Sisters with airtime for public service announcements; program sponsorships; national and local board member support; and Comcast University leadership development and training scholarships for the organization's staff leaders. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Comcast will also partner to launch at Comcast, Beyond School Wallssm, Big Brothers Big Sisters' nationwide mentoring program in which companies give back to their communities by hosting and mentoring children from area schools at their offices.
In Philadelphia, this program will be named the John Alchin Beyond School Walls program. Alchin is Comcast's former co-Chief Financial Officer and a long-time supporter and board member of the local agency, Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA (BBBS SEPA). On November 6th, the program will launch at Comcast when several dozen employees are matched with fourth grade students from Fairhill Elementary School in Philadelphia. Students will meet with their employee "Big Brothers" and "Big Sisters" at least twice a month, and BBBS SEPA will provide professional support and coaching for every Beyond School Walls match. With this Philadelphia program as a model, Comcast will work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and BBBS SEPA to expand the Beyond School Walls program to other cities across the country over the next two years.
"We couldn't be happier about this new nationwide partnership that allows us to make a significant, direct impact in the lives of many more children," said Charisse Lillie, Vice President, Community Investment and Executive Vice President, Comcast Foundation. "This partnership is consistent with our company's commitment to promote volunteerism and to work with young people in their pursuit of better lives and opportunities."
"When Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA approached us about Beyond School Walls, we thought it was one of the most unique opportunities we could offer to students," said Luisa Garcia-Soler, Principal at Fairhill Elementary School. "For these children, leaving the school and their neighborhood to experience a professional workplace like Comcast is priceless. It's one more way for us to raise the bar and reach new heights at Fairhill."
"We are delighted that Comcast is taking a leadership role in supporting this unique evidence-based approach to solving serious problems too many American youth face," said Judy Vredenburgh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. "This partnership is a powerful example of a collaborative effort with many supporters working together - families, schools, government, philanthropists and of course, committed corporate leaders such as Comcast, making a measurable difference with children and in our communities."
Research shows that children in the Beyond School Walls program have improved focus in school, improved grades and developed a positive change in attitudes or perceptions. The impact on the volunteer mentors for the Beyond School Walls program is positive as well. Ninety-six percent of Beyond School Walls mentors agree that the program has positively impacted them and 93 percent would recommend the program to their colleagues.
"Our Beyond School Walls model brings corporations, schools and the community together in a way that helps our children and our collective future," said Marlene L. Olshan, CEO of BBBS SEPA. "Comcast is setting an example for corporations locally and across the country. By providing unique workplace experiences to children through mentoring, we are strengthening our current and future workforces."
About Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania
Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA is the most experienced one-to-one youth mentoring organization in Pennsylvania. The organization has grown to serve more than 4,000 children annually in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. For more information, visit bbbssepa.org.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters helps vulnerable children break negative odds. We rely on donations to help recruit volunteers and reach more children. Funding is used to conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; and provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships. Our service is proven to reduce children's risk of skipping school, behaving violently, using drugs and alcohol, and falling victim to other negative cycles. Big Brothers Big Sisters and our network of supporters recognize the hardship, pain and challenges children in too many communities confront. Our movement is relevant and there is an urgent demand for what we achieve. Headquartered in Philadelphia and with nearly 400 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves more than a quarter million children. Learn how you can join the movement to change how children grow up in America by going to BigBrothersBigSisters.org.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of entertainment, information and communication products and services. With 24.4 million cable customers, 14.7 million high-speed Internet customers, and 6.1 million Comcast Digital Voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, ten Comcast SportsNet networks and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast's Internet businesses, including Comcast.net (www.comcast.net). Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.