Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania recently kicked off the fourth year of a unique and successful mentoring program in partnership with Comcast. Through this program, called Beyond School Walls, we bring children into the workplace to meet with selected Comcast mentors. Being involved with Comcast and Beyond School Walls has been a wonderful way to see the results of what Big Brothers Big Sisters is all about, and here in Philadelphia, we have witnessed the tremendous impact that the program is having for a group of fifth- to seventh-grade "Littles" from Fairhill Elementary School. They are improving their educational outcomes and setting their horizons higher.
We have been fortunate to partner with a company where so many employees want to be part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Beyond School Wall's program — taking time from their work days to host young students in their offices, lunchrooms and break rooms. During the last three years, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters nationwide, the program has taken residence in a dozen Comcast offices across the country, from Hartford, Conn. to Seattle, Wash. With the addition of the three newest locations this fall - in Seattle, Manchester, N.H. and Nashville, Tenn. - Comcast will have over 250 employee-volunteer "Bigs" that meet with their "Littles" bi-weekly for some valuable one-on-one mentoring time.
Though Beyond School Walls has been the focal point of the partnership, Comcast's commitment to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America goes even deeper. Comcast has provided vital support on many levels, including national and local board membership, Comcast University leadership development and training for Big Brothers Big Sisters staff leaders, and as lead sponsor of the Big Brother and the Big Sister of the Year Awards from 2008 to 2011.
Since the partnership's founding in 2008, Comcast has committed a total of more than $30 million in cash and in-kind support, including airing public service announcements.
I am so grateful for Comcast's support locally, and it really hits home for me when fall arrives, school starts, and our Philadelphia Beyond School Walls program gears up for another school year. When the Littles from Fairhill Elementary School arrived at the Comcast Center a few weeks ago, they were buzzing with excitement as both the Bigs and Littles were thrilled to be reunited after the summer. Most of these matches have been part of the Comcast Center's program from the inaugural launch in 2008 and they have developed close relationships, which is the program's overarching goal.
Comcast employees have shown incredible commitment to the Beyond School Walls program, as has Comcast Corporation. We are very grateful for Comcast's support here locally and look forward to many more years as partners with the Beyond School Walls program.