A ribbon cutting ceremony was held last month at the Technology Learning Center for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California Bigs program for Corcoran Unified School District.
Executive Director of the BBBS Central California Diane Phakonekham said she was excited to bring the Bigs Program to Corcoran and reached out to Corcoran Unified School District Superintendent Rich Merlo.
“He has a heart. He cares about the kids and the community,” Diane told the crowd who attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. “He really wanted to make this happen.”
The Bigs Program was created to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better.
“The child needs a positive role model,” Diane noted.
The Big Mentor, in this case a student from Corcoran High School and the “little” who is a student from John C. Fremont Elementary School, will meet for 90 minutes once a week to bond, Phakonekham said.
“We want to make sure they are learning. We want to do the best we can to serve the kids. We want to make sure that we talk the talk and we back it up,” Diane added.
Superintendent Merlo said that CUSD has wanted to implement the program for a while.
“This is something we’ve been wanting for years,” Merlo said. He added that he wanted to celebrate the students who are participating in the program especially the mentors from the high school.
“When you give, you receive. Thank you to the high school students for doing this,” Merlo noted.
Merlo also said that when he approached the school board members they were all for the program and although it’s been a long haul it’s a great investment in the Corcoran students.
John C. Fremont Elementary Principal Pearl Prins is also excited about the program—because she said her kids are excited.
“I already see my kids excited about it,” Prins said. “I want to thank the Bigs. You were my kids too.”
Prins also recognized her teachers Ms. Crane and Toste for allowing the use of their classrooms. The Bigs program meets every Monday afterschool.
Prins also thanked the school district and school board all those involved in getting the program to Corcoran.
“I want to thank you for supporting our kids because this makes a difference,” Prins said. “I know it’s already made a difference in my kid’s lives.”
For more than 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, professionally supported matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18. The program develops positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people. It also helps children in the community who need and deserve mentors build self-confidence and realize their potential.