Students from Woodside Elementary School in Everett will gain a special learning experience outside their classroom this school year, thanks to the Beyond School Walls program, a partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County and Comcast.
The 22 fourth- and fifth-grade student “Littles” will meet with Comcast employee “Bigs” at Comcast’s Lynnwood market offices and call center for one-to-one mentoring sessions. The program this year kicked off Wednesday, as a noisy set of children and excited adults shared lunch. This is the fourth year we’ve hosted “Littles” here in Lynnwood.
“Beyond School Walls is a great way for me to give back to our community and give guidance to our future generation. I take great pride in mentoring and providing a fun, positive, and energetic atmosphere! One of the great things about this program is we as Comcast employees get just as much out of it as the students do,” said Matthew Becerra, a “Big” who is otherwise a technical support supervisor at the Lynnwood call center, where employees help customer who have questions or problems with a product or service.
“The relationships built through this mentoring program are life-changing for both our employees and their Littles,” said Steve Kipp, Vice President of Communications for Comcast in Washington. “Not only do we see these children make improvements in their grades and feelings about education, but our employees value the opportunity to give back to children in their communities.”
Beyond School Walls aims to help at-risk children reach their fullest potential. Launched in 2008 at the company’s Philadelphia headquarters, Comcast’s Beyond School Walls program is the nation’s largest workplace mentoring program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, with more than 300 mentoring matches anticipated this school year. This is the fourth year that the program has been active in Lynnwood.
Research shows that children in the Beyond School Walls program have improved focus in school, improved grades, and a positive change in attitudes or perceptions. Compared to other mentoring programs run by Big Brothers Big Sisters, Comcast matches have:
- A higher 12-month retention rate (66% vs 42%)
- Serve more male Littles (48% vs 44%)
- Reflect more diverse Littles (82% non-white vs 69%)
One year after being enrolled in the Comcast Beyond School Walls program, Littles showed significant gains in educational expectations and social acceptance, according to 2013 Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey data. Eighty-seven percent of Comcast mentees maintained or improved in outcomes related to educational expectations.
If you’d like to know more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, see BigBrothersBigSisters.org. For more about their work in Everett, Lynnwood and other parts of the area, visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County website.