Comcast employees and Sto-Rox students benefit from mentoring program
On a normal workday, Kate Hazel of Dormont crunches numbers as a marketing analyst for Comcast.
Last Friday, Hazel, 34, helped Sto-Rox sixth-grader Samantha Ritter navigate the halls of Comcast’s North Fayette office in a scavenger hunt.
“This is much more fun than my job,” Hazel said as she and Ritter, 11, scoured the building for clues.
Hazel is one of 20 Comcast employees mentoring students from Sto-Rox Middle School in McKees Rocks as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh’s Beyond School Walls program. It pairs an adult with a student two days a month at Comcast’s corporate office near Robinson Town Centre.
“It’s very important that kids in our district get out of their neighborhood and see people in the workplace,” said Janell Logue-Belden, principal at Sto-Rox Middle School and acting district superintendent.
Many students in the district come from low-income families, Logue-Belden said. About 80 percent of middle school students get free or reduced-price lunches, she said.
“With this program, they’re learning things in a different atmosphere, and one of the biggest things is that this makes them feel special. That’s really important,” Logue-Belden said.
Comcast officials said the program allows employees to easily contribute to the community.
“It makes giving back more convenient for our employees, and I think they like knowing that we care,” said Charisse R. Lillie, Comcast’s vice president of community investment.
For Jessica Kendlick, 34, of Cranberry and her little sister Kiara Smith, 11, the day they get together is something to look forward to.
“I have an 11-year-old at home and it’s cool to see the differences,” said Kendlick, Comcast’s manager of local programming and production.
Smith said the best part of the program is getting away from some of the other kids at school.
“I don’t like listening to kids cursing,” she said. “And we don’t have to eat the school food.”