By CBS 4 Staff
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Miami has found an even ‘bigger’ brother in Miami-based Carnival Corporation.
On Wednesday the company’s philanthropic arm, the Carnival Foundation, donated $5 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami to create the Carnival Center for Excellence. The donation marks the largest gift ever received by the organization’s Miami chapter.
The Carnival Center for Excellence, located at 550 Le Jeune Road, not only serves as headquarters for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami organization, the facilities are also a place for mentoring and educational activities for the organization’s participants, often referred to as “Littles.”
“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami makes a huge impact in the lives of so many kids in our community, and for years it’s been Carnival Corporation’s goal to take our longstanding relationship and make an even greater difference,” said Linda Coll, Carnival Foundation’s director.
“Through this facility and the contributions of our volunteer mentors, we will continue to work together to make a real difference in the lives of deserving South Florida students for many years to come.” said Carnival’s CEO and president Arnold Donald.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, which closed on the building January 20th, is scheduled to be up and running in their new location in the first quarter of 2016.
“Today is a historic day in the life of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. Today we celebrate the achievement of a long term dream and that dream has been possible because of the Carnival Foundation,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami CEO Lydia Muniz.
In addition to additional office space, the new building will have a digital learning center, meeting/tutoring facilities and more.
“The digital learning center will help us bridge the digital divide that exists for many of the families that we serve, where many of them live way below the federal poverty level,” said Muniz. “We will have a family education library for our parents. We will have a big fitness area to really instruct and educate our “Littles” and parents on health and wellness and physical fitness.”
The Carnival Foundation’s Scholarship and Mentoring Program pairs company employees with South Florida high school students matched by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. Currently, 95 management team members mentor 95 Miami-Dade County high school students through the in-the-workplace program.
The program also awards four-year college scholarships to 15 participating students every year. Since 2010, 75 scholarships have been awarded, and in 2014 several students from the first group of recipients graduated college.
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