Updated: Dec 4, 2019
by Aida C. Santamaria, Senior HR Officer
Mentoring can make a big difference to teenagers who need guidance during their college years. The Big Brother, Big Sister (BBBS) program is a volunteer-employee program where employees take a PHINMA college scholar under their guidance. These scholars come from less privileged families and are often at risk of dropping out of college due to family problems, lack of support and guidance from parents or lack of personal inner strength to meet the challenges of life. PHINMA sends the scholar to college WITHOUT strings attached to work for the company after graduation. More than providing financial support, we provide emotional support by assigning an employee as mentor for each scholar. Mentoring activities with the scholar include tutorials, monthly kamustahan sessions and assisting them in school projects as needed. Mentors are called big brothers or big sisters, as that is the role we play.
I started my Big Sister journey in 2007 when I was a given a student from General Santos City who was studying to be a teacher. To date, I have been a guide to 4 scholars, 3 of whom have already graduated from college and are accomplished and licensed teachers.
My Little Sisters from 2007 to Present
During our monthly K25 (Kamustahan sessions), we would talk about their grades, their personal concerns such as their dreams, struggles, love life and their families. I try my best to give them my honest and genuine inputs, some based on my personal experiences. This process has provided me insights and life-learnings as I get to know and build trust with my little sister. I grow as I learn from them too!
Becoming a big sister is a challenging and rewarding experience. Ordinary as it may seem, it is an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of these scholars in a meaningful way. It is heartwarming to receive feedback from them, on how you have helped them achieve their goals and be the person they are today.
Life is about sharing, and I highly encourage other employees to participate and volunteer as a Big Brother or Big Sister. It is not only helping a young student grow, but also about learning, discovering, and gaining a different outlook on life; things you might be unaware of before becoming a mentor. Being a Big Sister enhances my experience as an employee of PHINMA. I have more than a job; and more than a professional career. I have a wonderful opportunity to make a life-changing impact to a young person, which allows me to build a legacy in their lives! Through this I bring to life in my own personal way and accomplish PHINMA’s mission and purpose of Making Lives Better.