Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 30, 2012

A little match with a big impact

CATLETTSBURG — Visit Catlettsburg Elementary on any given day and you might find some “Big” kids there in addition to all the students.

Earlier this month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tri-State matched 11 new “Bigs” — all Marathon Refinery employees — with student “Littles” through the agency’s school-based mentoring program.

The Bigs spend one hour each week at school with their Little, studying and playing, but also building a friendship that will help the student excel later in life.

“It’s been great for us,” said Catlettsburg Elementary Principal Marci Prater, noting BBBS has worked with the school for more than a decade to provide adult mentors to its students.

 “Just to see the smiles on the kids faces, and to know they have someone outside the family and the school to rely on is very important,” she said. “It is a self-esteem builder. It is crucial to a child’s success to know someone is interested in their education,” said Prater.

Kenny Hatten, 40, of Huntington, is a maintenance controller at Marathon and was recently matched with second-grader Kane Albertson, 8. The pair share a love for football and sports and are already enjoying their time together, said Hatten.

“He has a very vibrant spirit,” said Hatten of Albertson. “I think, with the right mentoring, and somebody guiding him between right and wrong, he could be very successful some day.”

Hatten, who has taught Sunday school at Christ Temple Church in Huntington for the last five years, learned about BBBS from an in-house email and was instantly interested in volunteering.

 “It was just like an answer to my prayers,” said Hatten, who explains, “My whole mission in life is to try to better the life of underprivileged kids — mentoring, feeding, teaching them.”

Too often, Hatten said, children “don’t get a fair shake because of the bad decisions of their parents.”

Katie Scherer, 27, an human resources consultant with Marathon, is another recently matched Big, whose been paired with third-grader Taylor.

“I’m really enjoying it,” said Scherer. “I’m learning just as much from her as she is from me. It’s a reciprocal relationship. You get as much out of it as you put into it.”

Taylor, she said, “is motivated and does well in school. Hopefully, I can help keep that momentum up for her.”

Both Hatten and Scherer said they would encourage other Marathon employees to volunteer to mentor a student as well as other businesses to partner with BBBS to do the same.

“It will only benefit the companies in the longterm because the positive impact they have not only on kids lives but on future employees,” said Hatten.

The matching of so many students from Catlettsburg with Marathon employees has been a “wonderful” experience, said BBBS case manager Lee McCloud. The agency is always looking for more corporate involvement for the school-based mentoring program and is willing to work with any school to place Bigs there.

“It is a great benefit for the company. It gives volunteers a chance to get out of the office and get inspired,” said McCloud.  

Marathon communications representative Sheila Fraley said the company has long supported Big Brothers Big Sisters but had a desire to do more one-on-one work with the children BBBS serves.

“We were just talking about ways we might get involved more, and we decided school-based mentoring would be the best place to start,” she said.

Fraley said she expects to see employee involvement grow, based on early reactions from new Bigs.

“Other people that they work with have come in and said, ‘I think I might want to do this. too.’ I think it is going to build from there,” she said.

For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tri-State, call Lee McCloud at (606) 329-8799.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0148.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • guyp-rodnew.jpg 'Uplifting people'

    The snow kept gospel singer Guy Penrod chilling a little longer than it should have this spring.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418star0024.jpg Raising the roof

    Leaks will soon be a thing of the past at Star Elementary School, where workers are busy putting up a new roof.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire at Russell care facility

    A care facility for the elderly in Russell was temporarily evacuated following a fire in the kitchen Wednesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Incumbent, newcomer vie for PVA position

    A longtime office-holder is facing a rare primary challenge in the Greenup County property valuation administrator race.

    April 18, 2014