(Bangor, PA) Big Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley recently received $47,000 in Educational Improvement Tax Credit donations to support the High School Bigs program in the Bethlehem Area School District. Merchants Bank was among several of the contributors and their support goes a step further. Treasury Officer, Marlene Werkheiser celebrated her 11th year as a “Big”. Marlene has had two “Littles” or Little Sisters. She has had a long-running mentorship with her current Little, as they have been together for 10 years.
Looking to do something fulfilling with her time, Werkheiser decided to try the mentorship program in 2001 and has been volunteering her time ever since. The program requires that Bigs spend at least two hours per week with their Little. Since their time together usually happens after the school day has ended, Werkheiser fits in her mentoring after work. However, Chief Executive Officer Anthony J. Biondi recognizes the importance of community service: “While financial support is essential for these organizations, volunteerism is many times in even shorter supply. As a community bank, we must ‘Walk the talk’ and serve our local not-for-profits. I encourage all of our employees to volunteer, even if it is during the work day. It is an integral part of the Bank’s commitment to our local community.”
Werkheiser accepted a plaque, recognizing Merchants Bank for this year’s donation to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She is one of many volunteers in the community that make the mentoring program possible. Maryjean deSandes of Big Brothers Big Sisters, explained the positive impact of this year’s contributions “Not only are the children making new friends through the program, they are demonstrating increased confidence, improving their grades in school and enjoying better relationships with family and friends.”
For over 40 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. The High School Bigs program matches elementary students from Thomas Jefferson and Governor Wolf Elementary Schools with student mentors from Liberty and Freedom high schools. Since 2007, the High School Bigs program has enabled Big Brothers Big Sisters to pair 54 elementary school students with high school role models from both schools.
Established in 1890, Merchants Bank is a locally owned and operated community bank. Headquartered in Bangor, PA. Merchants has two branch offices in Bangor and additional offices throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Mount Bethel, Wind Gap, Nazareth, Forks Township, Martins Creek, and a Business Center in Easton, PA. MNB Investment Services is a division of the Bank and offers investment and wealth management financial services. More information can be accessed at www.merchantsbangor.com.