Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County was one of nine local organizations recently awarded a Mentoring Matters grant through the First Niagara Foundation. The awards were announced during a ceremony at the First Niagara Center on October 3rd that included First Niagara executives, local officials and Buffalo Sabres Coach, Ted Nolan. First Niagara employee and BBBSEC Big Sister, Patty Szwed, shared her positive experience as a mentor to her 11 year old Little Sister Reina during the event. The two will be matched for one-year at the end of October!

Launched in 2007 by First Niagara, Mentoring Matters supports programs that help children improve their grades and school attendance, enhance their self-esteem, avoid the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and have a better opportunity for a brighter future. The award to BBBSEC will provide support to our Transforming Buffalo Through Mentoring & Education™ initiative that strives to facilitate a relationship between the mentor and the child’s school to help ensure academic success. At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, 98.9% of the children engaged in this program were promoted to the next grade level.

A BIG thank you to the First Niagara Foundation and First Niagara for their continued investment in helping BBBSEC change the lives of children facing adversity for the better, forever!

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