Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina Launches New Mentoring Programs


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina has launched two new mentorship programs, Beyond School Walls and Corporate Bigs.

Beyond School Walls is a program aimed at developing the next generation of employees through one-on-one mentoring relationships. The program, part of the national Big Brothers Big Sisters of America initiative, was launched Sept. 8 in partnership with Vortex and Salina Public Schools.

Around the world, around 40% of employers struggle to recruit people with the skills they need for their business (The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World, 2016). Mentoring can be an integral part of the solution, both to better prepare young people for high-demand careers and to offer employers a way to engage and retain their talented staff.

The program addresses the challenges of preparing young people for post-secondary success. Typically, students (called ‘little brothers’ or ‘little sisters’) from a local high school spend time with their mentor (called ‘big brother’ or ‘big sister’) on-site in the offices of a local company. The Littles have the opportunity to visit a professional workplace and learn about different career opportunities, from financial literacy to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), while developing meaningful relationships with the “Big” employee. .

“Vortex is thrilled to be a part of the Beyond School Walls program,” said Tom Blythe, vice president of human resources and organizational development. “Currently we have 6 Store Managers enrolled in the program as Bigs. This is a unique mentorship opportunity to show our future generation that a technical career can be a rewarding career path.”

“Our business strives to be community-based,” said Travis Young, president of Vortex. “We encourage our employees to contribute time, resources and talents to the community that shapes our daily lives. Volunteering as Big is just as fulfilling for us on a personal level as it is for these young adults. »

Corporate Bigs is a program aimed at creating impactful and positive friendships that help children develop greater self-confidence and reach their potential, while engaging with a child in their school environment. The program launched Sept. 7 in partnership with Bennington State Bank and Salina Public Schools.

As a large company, Bennington State Bank employees (referred to as “big brother” or “big sister”) are individually paired with a child (referred to as “little brothers” or “little sisters”) from a local elementary school and spend time together once a week at school.

Throughout the school year, these Bigs and Littles will enjoy one-on-one time on a day that best suits their schedule. It allows Bigs and Littles individualized time and attention on a consistent basis, the venue being the child’s school.

Members of the Corporate Bigs program eat lunch together, have fun during recess, help with schoolwork or catch up while building a positive friendship.

“Bennington State Bank is passionate about giving back to our communities and we are honored and proud to be part of the Corporate Bigs program which gives our team the opportunity to invest in the future of a child and a ‘have a positive impact on the community,’ said Carolyn Sichley, Chief Marketing Officer, Bennington State Bank. “The Big Brothers Big Sisters team at Salina are amazing and go out of their way to make a difference in children’s lives, and the Corporate Big program is another impactful way to help make connections and change lives. of a child through corporate teams who are passionate about community engagement.

“Now more than ever, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina is finding innovative ways to serve youth and strengthen our community,” said Amanda Otto, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina. “With the support of partners like Vortex, Bennington State Bank and Salina Public Schools, we can have a more meaningful impact at a time when young people need us most.”

Former Salina Public Schools Director of Student Support Services, Tiffany Lowe, facilitated early conversations last spring with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina to launch this exemplary mentorship program. She left that position last spring after being named vice-principal at Salina Central High School. Jody Craddock-Iselin has been named the new Director of Student Support Services and has helped continue planning efforts for the 22-23 school year. Salina Public Schools is open to creating more partnerships similar to this one with local businesses and industries that want to facilitate mentorship, job shadowing, internships, and work experiences for area students. . The district invites community, business, industry, parents, students and educators to the 2nd Annual Building Bridges Event from 5:15-7:30 p.m. on November 3 at Salina Central High School to collaborate and discuss future possibilities. Those wishing to participate are encouraged to RSVP to

At Beyond School Walls and Corporate Bigs sites across the country, youth enrolled in the program report improved grades and relationships with peers, reflecting the positive outcomes for youth synonymous with the Big Brothers Community Mentorship Program. Sisters. Beyond School Walls and Corporate Bigs makes mentoring accessible to employees with busy schedules by bringing the volunteer experience to their workplace or child’s school.

Companies have found that the mentoring program can improve employee morale; studies show that volunteering can reduce the high costs associated with employee turnover by 39% (Source: Youth Truth Survey, 2016).

To find out how your company can get involved in a workplace mentorship program for the 2023-2024 school year, contact Amanda Otto at [email protected] or 785-825-5509.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina
Since 1968, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina has operated on the belief that every child has the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As a donor and volunteer supported mentoring organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters organizes meaningful and controlled matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 5-17 , throughout Saline County. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people. Through partnerships with local schools, businesses, parents and guardians, volunteers and other members of the community, we are responsible for ensuring that every child in our program achieves critically important qualities: increased confidence, skills improved social skills, avoidance of risky behaviors and academic achievement.

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