SANTA CLARA (KRON) — In our special edition of our KRON4 Heroes, KRON4’s Grant Lodes profiles not just one hero, but several heroes in the City of Santa Clara.

In Santa Clara, being a firefighter means being out in the community. Firefighters there volunteer their time every week, helping shape the lives of local middle schoolers at Bookser Middle School through a program named Better Together.

The Better Together program was started by firefighters 26 years ago.

“It’s awesome because they don’t have to, but they do it anyways, and they’re really nice people once you get to know them…And the fact that they are firefighters makes it 20 percent cooler,” said Melanie Caballero, a student participant.

The program teaches Sixth graders how to improve their decision making, self-esteem, teamwork and communication. During a visit to the program, kids are delivering hand-made valentines to a nearby retirement home.

There are four groups of kids throughout Santa Clara’s school system, about 15 kids per class. A few firefighters mentor each group, which meets once a week and are selected by teachers and school counselors.

Volunteering their time, the Santa Clara firefighters may not be saving lives, but they’re certainly KRON4 heroes for their relentless work shaping lives.

And the young people they’re mentoring appreciate it.

“A rescue or something, we go out and perform that, that’s our expectation,” said one firefighter volunteer. “Where we can set ourselves apart is going out and making relationships outside of the emergency scene, and I’m so thankful we have the opportunity to do this.”