Mentoring Program Evaluation & Research

Did you know that Big Brothers Big Sisters programs make a BIG impact?

Research findings from several formal evaluations suggest that mentoring is successful in producing positive outcomes for children and youth at risk of failing school and engaging in harmful behaviors. In fact, the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention acknowledged Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs as an “evidenced-based” model of delinquency prevention. However, this only applies to the BBBS mentoring programs that adhere to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America “Standards of Practice for One-to-One Mentoring.” Our local agency makes it a top priority to comply with these standards.

The Results

Researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, the Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to those children not in our program, were:

  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip a class
  • 33% less likely to hit someone

They also found that the Littles were more confident of their performance in schoolwork and getting along better with their families.

Researchers evaluating the Big Brothers Big Sisters program found that certain aspects are essential in implementing successful mentoring programs, and these key components are outlined in the Standards of Practice for One-to-One Mentoring. These include:

  • A high level of contact between mentor and mentee.
  • A relationship that defines the mentor as a friend rather than an authoritative figure.
  • Volunteer screening to eliminate unfavorable mentors.
  • Communication and limit-setting training for mentors.
  • Procedures that take into account youth and volunteer preferences.
  • Intensive supervision and support of each match.