CenterState Bank joins Big Brothers Big Sisters to launch Polk County’s first workplace mentoring program
CenterState Bank and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay have launched Polk County’s first School-to-Work mentoring program, which matches 27 juniors from Winter Haven High School with bank employees to gain valuable skills and exposure to career opportunities.
Throughout the two-year program, CenterState employees (called “Bigs”) meet with the students (called “Littles”) at the bank once a month during the school year. The program targets students who may be at risk of not graduating and matches them with successful mentors who can encourage them to stay in school and make an empowered transition into secondary education, the military or their first job.
“In short, the School-to-Work program prepares these student’s for life,” said Stephen Koch, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. “Having a caring adult and positive role model to help guide you through those very important final two years of high school and develop a plan for after graduation is an invaluable experience.”
CenterState is inviting interested media to attend the next monthly visit, scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10 at the bank’s Winter Haven Operations Center, 1951 8th Street NW. Representatives from CenterState, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Polk County School District are expected to be in attendance and available for interviews.
“We believe this is an outstanding program that will positively impact the lives of these students and, as a result, enhances our community,” said Brett Rawls, CenterState’s Chief Administrative Officer. “CenterState and our employees are committed and passionate about giving back to the communities we serve.”
CenterState operates branches throughout Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Among its designated Core Values is a commitment to faith and families, and bank employees are engaged with dozens of organizations within their local communities. Last year, bank employees participated in 340 events and activities, working with more than 100 organizations.
This is the third year that Big Brothers Big Sisters has partnered with local corporations for the School-to-Work program and currently has 10 active partnerships, including such prestigious companies as the Moffitt Cancer Center, Nielsen, HSN, Tech Data, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, among others. To date, 100 percent of the participants who have completed the two-year experience have graduated.
For more information about the School-to-Work program, contact Jennifer Libby with Big Brothers Big Sisters at JenniferL@bbbstampabay.org.
About CenterState Bank
CenterState operates as one of the largest community bank franchises headquartered in the state of Florida. Both the Company and its nationally chartered bank subsidiary are based in Winter Haven, Florida, between Orlando and Tampa. With over $12 billion in assets, the Bank provides traditional retail, commercial, mortgage, wealth management and SBA services throughout its Florida, Georgia, and Alabama branch network and customer relationships in neighboring states. The Bank also has a national footprint, serving clients coast to coast through its correspondent banking division. For additional information, contact Brett S. Rawls (CAO) at 813-230-4917 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay is part of the nation’s largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network and holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs youth, or “Littles,” with screened volunteer mentors, or “Bigs,” and monitors these mentoring matches throughout their time in the program. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity – often of a single or low-income household or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military – with strong and enduring, professionally-supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. In 2017, nearly 3,000 children were paired with mentors in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Citrus, Hernando and Sumter counties. The agency was awarded the BBBS National Gold Standard Award this past summer. For more information please visit www.bbbstampabay.org.