(Sarina Morales, center left with red handbag, among a group of Time Warner employees who recently volunteered with a local New York chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters)
When I reminisce back to my high school days, I imagine walking down the crowded and weirdly painted hallways, which were always a different color. I'm not sure what was behind the paint choices. And then there’s that funny, transcendent cafeteria smell; it didn’t matter where you went to school, all cafeterias smell the same.
High school was a unique and emotional experience for each of us. It’s a place where personality and strengths develop. At the same time, it’s a time in our lives to learn to fit in. The jocks, the nerds, the cool kids... If I only knew then what we learned years later: that none of these groups would matter once I went to college. If I only knew that high school would be prep for what's to come. If only I had someone to help guide me a bit more in a sea of 13-18 year olds.
And for all these reasons I thought, “why not be part of the Day of Impact Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer event?” Impact, Time Warner’s employee volunteer and engagement program, joined forces with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City to visit Manhattan International High School, whose motto is “Meeting the Needs of the Immigrant Student.”
Within our small, but diverse group, we were able to spend half a day interacting with the students who were eager to ask us questions about “What the real world was like,” “How did you know what you wanted to be when you graduated,”… you get the idea. Those questions that we are all somehow still answering, gave each of the volunteers an opportunity to give some sincere advice on things we wish we knew back when we were in high school.
Besides that good hearty feeling of being part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, I will admit, this was a most unique experience for me. The students at Manhattan International High School are not only some of the brightest kids I’ve interacted with, but they are special in that every one of the students was born outside the United States. A young group that resembled the UN more than a 10th grade classroom shared with us their eager ambitions to become nurses, lawyers and even basketball players. It was a satisfying reminder of how important it is for us at Time Warner to extend ourselves and take some time to help make an Impact on our next generation.