Employees at The Hiller Companies, from executives to administrative staff, are gearing up to be “Bigs” as Hiller forges its corporate partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“We couldn’t be more excited to launch our relationship with the Big Brother Big Sister program,” Senior Vice President John Cocke said. “We, at Hiller, value our relationships with our communities, and this is a perfect way for us to get involved on both a personal and corporate level. We are encouraging the employees at all of our offices to get involved. With 17 branches across the country, I think we can really make a difference.”
This past fall, Hiller invited Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, Inc. CEO and President Aimee Risser to a general managers meeting in Mobile to present the corporate program and host a question and answer session.
“This was the first time we have been invited to a meeting where general managers from across a company were present,” Risser said. “This is not a typical Big partner of ours, so it’s unique. There is no mold for a company; it is the right people in leadership at the right time. We can adjust the program to fit any industry.”
Risser said ten local Hiller Bigs are completing the enrollment process right now and several others are inquiring about it.
“That is the beauty of this program,” Risser said. “It is ongoing and never ending.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers two types of mentoring programs: community-based and school-based. The community-based mentoring is the traditional Big Brother Big Sister relationship. It serves children ages six to twelve and fosters one-on-one time spent with the volunteer doing things they enjoy in the community.
School-based mentoring is one-on-one mentoring with children who enroll between the ages of six to twelve. Mentoring support is provided until the Littles turn 18 or graduate high school. Bigs meet their Littles on school grounds during school hours for one hour each week during the academic year and keep in touch during the summer. There are currently 31 schools in Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile and Monroe counties who participate in the school-based program.
Hiller will participate in school-based mentoring, but Bigs will have the option to transition into a community-based relationship on a case-by-case basis.
Hiller President and CEO Patrick Lynch has participated in the community-based program before and is looking forward to seeing the difference Hiller can make in the lives of young people.
“Being a part of this program has changed my life,” Lynch said. “You get as much or more from the kids than they get from you. I can’t wait to see how our employees not only impact these kids, but how the experience impacts our employees. It is a great, mutually beneficial relationship.”
Hiller’s Pensacola General Manager Pete Whitehouse has been working diligently to get his office on board with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“This partnership is positive for the company as a whole and for my branch,” Whitehouse said. “I believe it is something we can become invested in so that we are an impactful part of the community. Building relationships is part of what we do in our work, and it should definitely be a part of what we do to give back.”
Risser pointed out just how much a company like Hiller can make a difference in the lives of their Littles. National research shows that positive relationships between a Little and their Big has measurable impact when they are matched for at least a year:
- 94% of Littles are more confident they will finish school
- 96% of Littles felt socially accepted by their peers
- 95% of Littles avoided risky behaviors
- 94% of Littles improved academically
“We are so thrilled to have Hiller on our team,” Risser said. “At the heart of this, they have a willingness to positively impact our youth, and that is what makes our program work. Hiller will be the first company we have worked with to successfully take Big Brothers Big Sisters into other markets with a company-wide campaign.”
“For a company to encourage its employees to take an hour each week of company time and mentor children is amazing,” Front Desk Receptionist Ruth Crawford, said. “It is gratifying to think I can make a difference in a child’s life. Knowing Hiller wants and encourages its employees to become Bigs makes me proud to be on their team.”