Program Success

Our Mentoring Programs Work

iStock 000006202345XSmallBig Brothers Big Sisters one-to-one youth mentoring has been shown to have a significant measurable impact on children's lives, according to a long-term nationwide impact study. Nearly 1,000 children with similar risks and family environments were identified to participate in the study. Approximately one-half of the children were matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister. The others were assigned to a waiting list (or control group). The children were randomly assigned to one group or the other. Matched children met with their Big Brother or Big Sister about three times a month for an average of one year. Researchers followed matched children, unmatched children, and their families for 18 months. Significant differences were found between matched and unmatched children.

After participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Programs for just one year, served children:

  • Are 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • Are 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • Are 30% less likely to be involved in anti-social behaviors such as fighting
  • Miss 52% less days of school
  • Are 37% less likely to skip a class
  • Have improved academic performance
  • Have better quality relationships with family members and peers

What Made The Difference?

Research indicates that outcomes realized through Big Brothers Big Sisters are the result of the positive, broad-based prevention service that focuses on supporting youth’s developmental needs. Mentors in the study didn't do anything special. They shared everyday activities: dining out, playing sports or attending sports events, going to movies, sightseeing, doing chores, and just hanging out together. It was not the activities that made the difference, but the fact that the children had another positive caring adult in their lives to confide in and to look up to that motivated them to do better in school and at home. They were also able to avoid violence and substance abuse at a pivotal time in their lives when even small changes in behavior, or choices made, can change the course of their future. Positive adult role models promote confidence, competence, and caring, and for some children, that one extra positive influence can make all the difference. After all, there is no such thing as too many positive influences.

What Makes Big Brothers Big Sisters Different From Other Mentoring Programs?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America distinguishes itself from other mentoring programs via rigorous standards and required procedures, including an intensive mentor screening process, careful matching based on common interests, ongoing training opportunities for mentors, and ongoing support/case management provided to the child, the child’s parent, and the mentor to ensure that the match is beneficial.