Make a Difference. Have Fun. Be a Mentor. Become a friend to a child. First USA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America are teaming up again this summer to sponsor the second annual First Mentors scholarship. First Mentors, a nationwide college-mentoring program, unites college students with children in need of a caring friend. The program offers college students an opportunity to learn mentoring skills, while giving children the chance to learn the fundamentals of college.
As part of the First Mentors program, 42 essay winners nationwide were selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship to use towards various education-based summer camps, including American Computer Experience (ACE) and Space Camp.
These scholarships are part of First Mentors, a program which pairs “littles”, children ages eight through 12, with “bigs”, college students. They continue to learn from one another throughout the year as they participate in a variety of activities ranging from sports to cooking. “Being a mentor is so rewarding,” said Todd Smith, a senior at the University of Delaware. “It gives me a chance to give something back to my community, and more importantly, today’s youth. It’s amazing to see what a difference we make in these children’s lives.”
One part of the scholarship application process requires “littles” to write an essay on the importance of attending college. Here’s what some of them had to say:
— “I believe that college is an important step in life. I know
in our culture today that learning is very important. In order
to be excellent at any career, a college education is
absolutely the thing to get!” Brady
— “College is so important because it helps you to learn
communication skills and how to work with others.”
— “College can prepare you for many different careers and great
things. It opens your mind to other points of view and helps
you to see things differently. You can learn things that you
never knew before, and prepare yourself to do things that
nobody else has ever done.” Ethan
— “College is important to me because I value an education. I
feel that an education is my key to success and if I have an
education, I can do or be anything I want to be.”
Ann Arbor, Mich.
— “I think college is important because you get better at what
you do, you can improve what you are trying to do and you can
get a better education.” Brandon
— “There are three reasons why I think college is important.
College will help me go on in life with positive motivation, I
will be able to get a better job if I graduate from college
and going to college will help me become an example for
Together, Big Brothers Big Sisters and First USA are making college students realize that they’re never too young to impact a child’s life.
Todd Piercy, First USA employee and Big Brother for almost two years, realizes the importance of being a role model for kids and hopes that other corporations will follow in First USA’s footsteps to work with their communities in developing mentoring programs. “I’m proud to say that I’m affiliated with a company like First USA that not only cares about its employees but also about helping the local children in its communities and across the country.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and First USA launched First Mentors in September 1999. To date, more than 126 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies and 223 colleges and universities are participating in the First Mentors program, serving more than 2,000 children. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the oldest and most widely known mentoring organization serving youth in the country. For almost 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has helped millions of children through its more than 500 agencies nationwide.
College students may apply to be part of the First Mentors program by logging on to www.bbbsa.org. They can also contact the national Big Brothers Big Sisters office via e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, at 215.567.7000.
First USA, a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE:ONE), is the largest issuer of Visa(R) credit cards in the world. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA and Bank One names and on behalf of its 1,900 marketing partners. These partners include some of the leading corporations, universities and affinity organizations in the United States. Bank One Corporation is the nation’s fifth-largest bank holding company, with assets of more than $270 billion. Visit our site at [www.firstusa.com].