These days, you can find Nickelodeon pretty much everywhere – on your TV screen, in the theaters, on your computer or phone. The network is pretty much the definition of Viacom’s Made Here Lives Everywhere campaign.
But beyond the screens, Nick employees are working just as hard to give back to their communities, in part through a partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Workplace Mentoring Program. This collaboration demonstrates just one of the many ways that Viacom employees are dedicated to making a lasting difference in their communities.
BBBS works to help children achieve academic, social, and personal success through structured mentorship programs, which pairs underprivileged students with professional mentors. Over the past year, middle school and high school students, or “Littles,” joined Nickelodeon employees (“Bigs”), at the network’s New York City offices for bi-monthly mentorship sessions.
Each session focused on career development and life-coaching activities like resume building, conflict resolution, and team building. Field trips to the Sony Wonder Lab to learn about the evolution of technology and the Nickelodeon HALO Awards added an interactive and uniquely Viacom experience to the mentorship program.
Nickelodeon employees customized the curriculum. By working with an improvisation group to improve communication skills, attending a screening of the SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, and creating a scavenger hunt in the 1515 Broadway building, “littles” were exposed to and gained a full understanding of Viacom’s company culture.
The program’s benefits are hardly confined to the students – by using their professional expertise in a new way and attending networking events like Bigs in the City and Bigs Night Out, Nickelodeon employees developed leadership skills, met their coworkers in a unique setting, and reported an increased receptivity to new ideas.
“The Big Brothers Big Sisters Workplace Mentoring Program provides a tremendous opportunity for both our employees and local youth to gain unique life experience while making an impact on another person,” said Nickelodeon Public Affairs Manager and Big Sydney Cohn. “The students get exposure to life on the inside of Nick, while our employees get to hang out with kids who are eager to learn and spend time with their Bigs, who want to learn from them.””
For the mentees, experiences with their Nick Bigs generated tangible results, as nearly all mentees were promoted to the next grade, seniors graduated from high school, and graduates enrolled in college or the armed services. An overwhelming majority reported improved academic performances, better relationships with family and friends, and increased interest in attending college and working professionally in the corporate world.
The year’s partnership culminated when Nickelodeon employee Kerry and her mentee Janeya presented Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami with the Corporate Award at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City’s annual Sidewalks of NYC fundraiser event.