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Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS)

Health Factors: Education Community Safety
Decision Makers: Educators Employers & Businesses Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) matches volunteer mentors with disadvantaged or at-risk youth mentees (CEBC). BBBS provides a mentoring program design to its network of independent agencies. The program focuses on building supportive relationships rather than addressing problem behaviors (PPN). In the community-based version of BBBS, mentors spend about four hours per week engaging mentees in conversation and social activities for at least a year. In the school-based version, mentors meet mentees at their schools once a week during the academic year to engage in academic activities, conversation, and indoor games (CEBC).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced delinquent behavior
Increased academic achievement
Reduced aggression
Improved family functioning
Improved social skills

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) reduces delinquent behavior and improves school outcomes among mentees (CEBC, PPN, OJJDP Model Programs). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Community-based BBBS can reduce youth’s aggressive behavior, improve relationships with parents, prevent minority boys from initiating illegal drug use, and improve girls’ academic performance (PPN, Child Trends-Lawner 2013). School-based BBBS appears to improve academic performance for youth whose matches remain intact for the duration of the school year (Herrera 2011). Programs that recruit high school students as mentors (“High School Bigs”) have demonstrated better peer relationships among mentee students than non-mentored peers (Herrera 2008). Youth entering the program with adequate parental relationships (neither very strong nor very poor) benefit the most from school-based BBBS (Schwartz 2011).

Research suggests that longer, closer matches yield stronger behavioral (Gaddis 2012, DeWit 2016), mental health (DeWit 2016), and academic effects (Park 2016a, Bayer 2015, Herrera 2007), possibly by enhancing the mentee’s relationships with teachers and parents (Chan 2013). Mentors who are college students appear less likely than other mentors to continue matches. Researchers recommend screening, training, and post-match support to ensure that matches continue (Grossman 2012).

In school-based programs, mentoring meetings after school or during lunch time may have greater effects on academic outcomes than meetings held during school hours (Schwartz 2012). Researchers caution against using BBBS mentors primarily as tutors, as such matches appear less likely to endure (Grossman 2012), and instead, recommend helping academically focused pairs connect interpersonally (Pryce 2013).

Implementation

United States

From July 2010 to June 2011, BBBS served about 120,000 community-based mentees and 87,000 school-based mentees (BBBS-Annual report 2011).

Wisconsin

There are multiple Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations in Wisconsin (BBBS Milwaukee, BBBS NE WI, BBBS NW WI, BBBS Dane, BBBS Central WI).

Implementation Resources

BBBS - Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Accessed on December 7, 2015

Citations - Description

BBBS - Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Accessed on December 7, 2015
CEBC - California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC). Information and resources for child welfare professionals: List of programs. Accessed on March 17, 2017
PPN - Promising Practices Network (PPN). On children, families and communities. Accessed on December 7, 2016

Citations - Evidence

Bayer 2015* - Bayer A, Grossman JB, DuBois DL. Using volunteer mentors to improve the academic outcomes of underserved students: The role of relationships. Journal of Community Psychology. 2015;43(4):408–429. Accessed on June 8, 2016
CEBC - California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC). Information and resources for child welfare professionals: List of programs. Accessed on March 17, 2017
Chan 2013* - Chan CS, Rhodes JE, Howard WJ, et al. Pathways of influence in school-based mentoring: The mediating role of parent and teacher relationships. Journal of School Psychology. 2013;51(1):129–42. Accessed on December 1, 2015
Child Trends-Lawner 2013 - Lawner EK, Beltz M, Moore KA. What works for mentoring programs: Lessons from experimental evaluations of programs and interventions. Bethesda, MD: Child Trends; 2013. Accessed on June 8, 2016
DeWit 2016* - DeWit DJ, DuBois D, Erdem G, Larose S, Lipman EL. The role of program-supported mentoring relationships in promoting youth mental health, behavioral and developmental outcomes. Prevention Science. 2016;17(5):646–657. Accessed on June 8, 2016
Gaddis 2012* - Gaddis SM. What’s in a relationship? An examination of social capital, race and class in mentoring relationships. Social Forces. 2012;90(4):1237–69. Accessed on October 7, 2016
Grossman 2012* - Grossman JB, Chan CS, Schwartz SEO, Rhodes JE. The test of time in school-based mentoring: The role of relationship duration and re-matching on academic outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology. 2012;49(1-2):43–54. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Herrera 2007 - Herrera C, Grossman JB, Kauh TJ, Feldman AF, McMaken J, Jucovy LZ. Making a difference in schools: The Big Brothers Big Sisters school-based mentoring impact study. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures; 2007. Accessed on November 10, 2015
Herrera 2008 - Herrera C, Kauh TJ, Cooney SM, Grossman JB, McMaken J. High school students as mentors: Findings from the Big Brothers Big Sisters school-based mentoring impact study. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures; 2008. Accessed on May 24, 2016
Herrera 2011* - Herrera C, Grossman JB, Kauh TJ, McMaken J. Mentoring in schools: An impact study of Big Brothers Big Sisters school-based mentoring. Child Development. 2011;82(1):346–361. Accessed on June 8, 2016
OJJDP Model Programs - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). OJJDP model programs guide. Accessed on March 24, 2017
Park 2016a* - Park H, Yoon J, Crosby SD. A pilot study of big brothers big sisters programs and youth development: An application of critical race theory. Children and Youth Services Review. 2016;61:83–89. Accessed on June 8, 2016
PPN - Promising Practices Network (PPN). On children, families and communities. Accessed on December 7, 2016
Pryce 2013* - Pryce JM, Keller TE. Interpersonal tone within school-based youth mentoring. Youth & Society. 2011;45(1):98–116. Accessed on May 20, 2016
Schwartz 2011* - Schwartz SEO, Rhodes JE, Chan CS, Herrera C. The impact of school-based mentoring on youths with different relational profiles. Developmental Psychology. 2011;47(2):450-62. Accessed on October 7, 2016
Schwartz 2012* - Schwartz SEO, Rhodes JE, Herrera C. The influence of meeting time on academic outcomes in school-based mentoring. Children and Youth Services Review. 2012;34(12):2319–2326. Accessed on June 8, 2016

Citations - Implementation

BBBS Central WI - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Wisconsin (BBBS). Big brothers, big sisters, big smiles. Accessed on June 8, 2016
BBBS Dane - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County (BBBS). Start something. Accessed on June 8, 2016
BBBS Milwaukee - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee (BBBS). So many ways to get started. Accessed on November 27, 2015
BBBS NE WI - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin (BBBS). Programs. Accessed on June 7, 2016
BBBS NW WI - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin (BBBS). Programs in your community. Accessed on June 7, 2016
BBBS-Annual report 2011 - Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Annual report 2010-2011 - A report to the community: Putting our children on a path to success. 2011. Accessed on June 7, 2016

Page Last Updated

June 8, 2016

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