WNC students help Big Brothers Big Sisters with donation bins | NevadaAppeal.com

WNC students help Big Brothers Big Sisters with donation bins

Instructor Joe Brillhart and welding class student Jim Silva work on a Big Brothers, Big Sisters collection box at WNC Wednesday.
Brad Coman/Nevada Appeal |

Students at Western Nevada College are giving back to the community by repairing and improving donation bins for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada organization.

Joe Brillhart and his welding students at WNC offered to repair nine vandalized donation bins for the organization after hearing about what had happened. Several of the bins had been damaged; locks broken off, doors bent and dented and chains torn off so people could take the donations that were inside.

“It’s what we are here for,” Brillhart said. “We do various things for the community and it helps the students work on new things so they get real world experience.”

The bins were transported to WNC Wednesday afternoon by local Reno business owner Mark Bell, who owns Reno Tahoe Rustic Décor. Bell offered to use his delivery truck to pick up the bins and take them down to Carson to the college. There, Brillhart’s projects and welding 2 class began working on repairing the bins. The students also are working on repairing the locking systems so they are more difficult to break into.

“We just want to deter thieves from doing this, because while it is so generous of them to do this for us for free, we also don’t want to have to keep doing this,” said J Merriman, Community Outreach Specialist for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Typically to fix one of the bins can cost the organization $250 or more, which is a big toll on the non-profit’s budget. Merriman said the organization loses money not only because of lost revenue from the stolen donations, but they also lose money paying to fix the bins.

By donating their time to fix the bins, Brillhart’s classes are helping save money for the organization and for participants like 11-year-old Isabell Gutierrez and her Big Sister Diane Dye Hansen.

“I am amazed what WNC has done for us because the theft and vandalism, it’s really sad,” Dye Hansen said. “To have members of our community stand up and help makes a huge impact for us (because it helps the organization, which helps me) because my life is better with Isabell in it.”

The revenue Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada gets from the donations helps go towards things like helping pay for activities for the pair and the match specialist who pairs up each set of brother and sisters. Both Gutierrez and Dye Hansen said the organization has been an amazing experience for them, and it has helped the younger girl overcome her shyness with their interactions and activities.

“I think it is awesome (what the students are doing) because I think that everyone should be in this,” Gutierrez said.

The WNC students will be working throughout the week on the bins, before returning them to Reno.

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada or to donate to the organization, visit http://www.bbbsnn.org/site/c.aiINI5NMKeKYF/b.7529395/k.1CE5/Big_Brothers_Big_Sisters_of_Northern_Nevada.htm.