By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A major bank in the region is giving a local nonprofit mentoring organization a big financial boost.
The First Niagara Foundation presented a check for $125,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania to support the group’s programs in the Philadelphia area.
Independence Charter School, at 1600 Lombard Street, was the backdrop for the presentation.
Yanay, a sixth-grader, has had a Big Sister for two years. She says Allison visits her every Thursday and is a big part of her life.
“My ‘big’ is important to me because I don’t have any brothers or sisters,” Yanay said, “so it was nice to have that attention.”
And William North of First Niagara says that’s what it’s really about.
“There’s a lot of areas you can give back to, but for us, doing something that supports youth and the leaders of tomorrow, quite frankly, is at the top of our list,” he said.
Temple University basketball coach Fran Dunphy is a longtime member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters board.
“For us who have been very lucky over the years, we need to give back as much as we can,” he said today, “and what First Niagara’s doing is pretty cool.”
Marcus Allen, of Big Brothers Big Sisters, says the need is great:
“We have 3,100 mentors right now. I’d like to have — I know this is unrealistic, but we have over 200,000 at-risk kids in the Philadelphia area. So I’d like to have 200,000 mentors.”