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Big Brothers Big Sisters and Mayo Clinic to launch workplace mentoring program with Fletcher High School

(Left to right) Sonja Murgueytio-Jurado (Mentor), Shannon Schmechel (Mentee) and Melissa Stewart (Mentor)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida joined with Mayo Clinic to launch Beyond School Walls, a workplace mentoring program, with Fletcher High School. Through this innovative program, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been able to expand their mentorship activities into high schools and local businesses.

“Our Beyond School Walls partnerships are making a positive impact in the lives of our community’s youth,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida CEO Warren Grymes. “The exposures to a professional work environment along with the mentoring relationships are beneficial in many ways and we encourage more support from the business community.”

With the support and help of Mayo employees, Beyond School Walls will today expand into its fourth high school in the Jacksonville area. The program pairs 27 Mayo employees with 27 students for one-to-one mentoring on a biweekly basis throughout the 2011-2012 school year. During each session at Mayo Clinic, students from Fletcher’s Healthy Opportunities Through Physical Education (HOPE) class will meet with their mentors to build relationships, discuss career goals and eat lunch.

“We are so delighted and grateful that Mayo Clinic has come forward to build a friendship with our students by illustrating positive leadership and inspiring them to reach their potential,” said Duncan U. Fletcher High School Principal Dane Gilbert. “This opportunity for on-site mentorship will help our HOPE students further understand the importance of enhancing healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices. I strongly encourage more local businesses to utilize the Beyond Schools Walls program and pair with other area high schools.”

Piloted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Comcast in 2006, Beyond School Walls nationally has spurred dramatic increases in student performance and graduation rates. Of students who participated in the inaugural Jacksonville partnership at Sandalwood High School, 97% improved or maintained attendance, 88% were promoted to the next grade level and 100% improved or maintained good conduct.

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida and Beyond School Walls, visit

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