In the spring of 2016, our Barney & Barney/Marsh & McLennan Agency's San Diego office began a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS) through Beyond School Walls (BSW). BSW is an innovative one-to-one youth mentoring program that matches colleagues from neighboring companies with students from area schools in the professional workspace. Through BSW, youth can learn the ins and outs of working for a corporation and the educational requirements needed to achieve professional success. And most importantly, the mentoring program builds strong, supportive relationships.
Roughly twenty MMA colleagues (Bigs) were matched with students (Littles), ranging from ages 11 to 13. A BBBS staff member then managed the program on site while Bigs and Littles worked together on curriculum provided by BBBS. They also toured the office and other times just talked with one another about things like friendship, getting along with teachers, life goals, peer pressure, etc.
We are excited to continue BSW for the 2017-2018 school year beginning in September. Many of our Bigs will continue bonding with their current Littles. And, we will be matching more MMA colleagues with Littles as we continue building these special friendships.
Bigs help Littles create a vision for a positive future
It’s small, teachable moments that help the Littles develop confidence and begin to create a vision for a positive future. Simple things make the difference such as:
- Taking the time to listen to the Little talk about whatever’s going on in their life.
- Being available on a consistent basis.
- Showing that they have someone in their lives, other than a parent, who cares.
Bigs new to the program often discover that they gain more from the relationship than they give. We spoke to a few members of BSW to get an idea of their experiences in the first year of the program and why they are continuing as ‘Bigs’ next year.
Being a Big is a wonderful experience and has allowed me to exercise my patience. The best thing I’ve got from being a Big is how much I get to learn too from my Little. The opportunity of meeting, getting to know each other, share experiences and laugh has been wonderful.
Although my Little recently moved to another state, I was able to have her entire family over for dinner before they moved. My Little will have a lot of challenges in the next two years and with Facetime and all the other ways to stay in contact we should be able to keep our relationship going. I’ve made a lifetime commitment to my Little as long as she wants to keep it going! - Gaynor Chattaway, Director, Member Support
Being a Big has really helped me to listen better and understand my Little so that I can provide the support to him that I want to. In being more fully engaged with him, it is helping me be more engaged with the people around me in my everyday life. Being a positive role model is awesome, and I also have learned a ton that has helped me grow as a person at the same time.
My favorite part of the experience has been walking through challenging things in my Little’s life with him. From issues at school, to personal issues, being there to listen, helping him think through things on his own and process to make good decisions has been really rewarding. - Beracah Stortvedt, Client Executive, ARM
My number one goal with this program is to make a positive impact in my Little’s life and I felt that after just one year my work wasn’t done yet. - David Freeman, Principal, Director of Commercial Sales
It’s an amazing success! Littles learn from Bigs. Bigs learn from Littles. Partnering with BBBS has given our colleagues a great opportunity to make a difference in these children’s lives and also grow personally. Community involvement is deeply rooted in our core values as a company and we are very appreciative of BBBS for giving us this chance to continue to work with these great kids.
To learn more about community involvement and outreach in the Western region of Marsh & McLennan Agency, click here.