Bateman Group Brooklyn Gives Back with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York
Tyler, Matt, Lauren and Elissa stood in front of six new faces, pitching the importance of storytelling, in hopes of getting everyone inspired by their message. They put on their brightest smiles and mapped out upcoming meetings over the next few months.
The room was not filled with prospective clients. It was filled with six high school freshmen and sophomores from City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology in Brooklyn. This meeting marked the start of our involvement in Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York’s STARS program, a workplace mentorship program.
In the first session, we talked about situations where we have to share personal stories — like resumes, personal statements for college, dating and networking — and found that the three most important parts to our own story build a triangle. Matt and Tyler broke the ice by performing mock interview introductions. The kids were harsh judges of Matt’s poor eye contact and Tyler’s hand-waving, but were generous with positive feedback. Then we asked them to tell their stories for their own hypothetical interviews. By the end of the session, Bateman Group was ready to hire a singer-songwriter, camp counselor, architect and sports agent, who pitched their personal stories vividly.
The second session focused on telling personal stories in written form. Sarah, Will, Puneet and Ayla led a brainstorming session in which students identified elements of a good story, including emotions and gripping first sentences. The kids critiqued a few personal statements from the Bateman Group team and then began to work on their own. At the end of the session, we read the opening line to our personal stories. With lines like “Video games turned me from a man to a gentleman,” we were hooked.
In the next few sessions, we’ll be talking about how to promote our stories via social media and in front of an audience. We’re happy to share our storytelling expertise in a workplace setting, but are gaining the most value from just getting to know the Big Brothers Big Sisters teens. They are coming out of their shells, working hard to make each session exciting and collaborative, and are looking towards the future. Their stories are inspiring and uplifting.