BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS: BEYOND SCHOOL WALLS
Comcast works with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to connect our employees with students in need. We launched the Beyond School Walls program in 2008, pairing 4th-grade "Littles" from Fairhill Elementary School with employee "Bigs" at Comcast headquarters in Philadelphia. Students come to our offices to meet twice a month during the school year.
During that first year, our employees in the program reported greater work satisfaction, and the students they mentored showed improved grades — encouraging us to expand the program. Today, we have nearly 300 employees participating in 13 cities nationwide, and our Beyond School Walls program has become the largest workplace-based mentoring program in the country. And we’ve given more than $47 million in cash and in-kind support since 2008.
Comcast’s Beyond School Walls program has succeeded in creating more diverse matches and retaining a higher percentage of participants compared with nationwide averages for other Big Brothers Big Sisters programs. We also have above-average numbers of male Bigs and Littles in the Beyond School Walls program.
In recognition of our support, Big Brothers Big Sisters honored Comcast with its President’s Award at the organization’s 2012 annual summit.
ART OF TOMORROW
NBCUniversal is creating hands-on learning labs where local students can explore media and entertainment industry careers in an exciting, real-world environment. Hosted at Universal Orlando, the Art of Tomorrow program inspires teenagers to stay in school and pursue careers as professional artists and designers. We developed and launched the program in partnership with Orange County Public Schools in Florida, beginning with an 8th-grade curriculum that advances college and career readiness in the arts. The program helps raise awareness among students, opens up career opportunities in the entertainment industry and beyond, and helps seed the next generation of Universal Orlando creative talent.
Participants worked in small groups alongside Universal Orlando artists, designers, and producers — getting a behind-the-scenes look at the development of theme park attractions, learning how to design and build them, and creating short documentaries about the creative jobs of tomorrow. At the end of the program, students invited their families and faculty supporters to view their creations at a "red carpet premiere screening" at the Universal CityWalk® AMC® Cineplex theater.
"Bringing real-world expertise and insight to our students has made a significant impact on their understanding of career opportunities in the arts," says Scott T. Evans, Fine Arts Coordinator for Orange County Public Schools.
Since 2001, Comcast has supported the nonprofit organization City Year in bringing volunteers into public schools to help students stay on the path to graduation. City Year corps members spend a full year in the program, which helps them develop leadership and career skills while mentoring others. Comcast and NBCUniversal support City Year teams in 11 cities nationwide, including a new team in Orlando that launched in fall 2012. With our support, City Year served more than 100,000 children during the 2011–12 school year.
City Year has had an amazing impact on participants and their local communities. For example, Comcast and NBCUniversal have supported a City Year team in Chicago since 2010. During that time, City Year mentors have helped 84% of students at the Howe School of Excellence, a middle school on Chicago’s South Side, maintain or improve their attendance, while 89% of off-track students have achieved average grades of C or higher.
City Year worked with 12 schools to measure the impact of its Diplomas Now initiative on students identified as off-track at any point during the 2011–12 school year. At these schools, City Year reduced the number of students with less than 85% attendance by 45%, reduced the number of suspended students by 68%, reduced the number of students failing English by 61%, and reduced the number of students failing math by 52%.
Awarded to students for the 2012–13 school year through the Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program.
LEADERS AND ACHIEVERS® SCHOLARSHIPS
Now in its 13th year, the Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program recognizes high school seniors in both Comcast and NBCUniversal markets for their community service, academic achievement, and leadership skills. Nearly half of our 2012–13 scholarship recipients — who are nominated by their high school principals or guidance counselors for the one-time award of $1,000 — are from diverse backgrounds. Leaders and Achievers® provided more than $1.8 million to 1,800 students in the 2012–13 school year. And since 2001, we’ve awarded $17 million in scholarships.