MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A local company is giving employees time during the week to stop and give back in unforgettable ways.
With offices in Miami Lakes and all over South Florida, Inktel provides services for Fortune 500 companies that help them maximize their bottom line.
But Inktel is also serving the community – encouraging its employees to volunteer for the Big Brothers Big Sisters school-to-work program.
Each month, little brothers and sisters – or the “littles” as they’re called – are bused to Inktel’s offices to spend time with their “bigs.”
The bigs are men and women, now in the real world, who are still young enough to remember what it’s like to face an uncertain future.
“Most of them have had experiences very comparable to them, so they know what it’s like to be in those shoes and they’re able to share their highlights and best practices and tips for them,” said Inktel Contact Center Solutions Senior Recruiter Tina Lam.
Last month, they conducted mock interviews. This month, the little – all students from Miami Norland High School in Miami Gardens – got to play a game: “The Game of Life.”
Each student received the equivalent of the average monthly salary for a 25 year old in South Florida, which was $3,750.
Then, they were asked to fill out a check list of all the things they wanted to have and things they need.
Some opted for the most expected items such as internet, cable and a car. Others included shoes, hair and nails.
The bigs offered some advice.
How about a used car instead of a new one?
Suddenly, one of the big brothers, Ken, was re-introduced to the group as the dreaded tax collector.
He walked around the room, taking his cut – income taxes and social security taxes.
That was on top of their mounting bills of rent, cable bill, electric, health insurance and more.
“I can’t even believe!” one exasperated little exclaimed.
One of the lessons of the game of life: budgeting and planning isn’t easy. Today, it was fake money, but it will be real soon enough.
After the game, there was a talk about college.
“I’ve been studying. I’ve gotten tutoring,” a little said.
Then there was a talk about goals.
“Whatever that goals is, make sure that that never strays from your mind. That is always in front of you. And you’ll see how you’ll slowly get there,” said one big.
Miami Norland senior Reshard Donald wants to be an architect. He said he gets a lot out of his once a month trips to Inktel.
“I see people in this building with ties, dresses, glasses. They look successful. They keep their jobs on focus,” the 18 year old said. “So I think I’m most definitely going to be like one of them.”
Brittany Sanders is 17 and Miami Norland senior. She’s has been teamed with her big sister for two years.
“We’ve grown closer over time. And I know if I need her, I can come to her,” she said.
But as much as it means to the kids, their bigs get a lot out of it too.
“Knowing what we know today, I keep thinking, it would have been so good to have this knowledge when I was in high school, in college. Being able to make the right decisions,” explained big brother Prem Balwani. “The pleasure that you get from helping somebody like Reshard, watching them grow, is inexplainable.”