This document is a re-issue of a 1995 impact study of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, to highlight the effects of a successful social intervention, providing scientifically reliable evidence that mentoring programs can positively affect young people.
This report is part of Public/Private Ventures’ (P/PV’s) eight-year investigation of a variety of adult-youth relationship projects; it provides scientifically reliable evidence derived from research conducted at local affiliates of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), and shows how mentoring programs can positively affect young people. Sample youth chosen for this impact study were between the ages of 10 and 16 years, with 93 percent between the ages of 10 and 14, when they were found eligible for the BBBS program. The authors report on their research strategy, which involved comparing BBBS participants with youth who were not participants; the main goal was to determine whether a one-to-one mentoring experience made a tangible difference in the lives of participants. Overall findings were positive, and the most noteworthy results included: Little Brothers/Sisters were 46 percent less likely than controls to initiate drug use during the study period; Little Brothers/Sisters were 27 percent less likely than controls to initiate alcohol use, and minority Little Sisters were one-half as likely to initiate alcohol use, during the study period; Little Brothers/Sisters were almost one-third less likely than controls to hit someone; Little Brothers/Sisters skipped half as many days of school as did control youth, felt more competent about schoolwork, and showed modest gains in their grade point average (GPA); and the quality of relationships with parents was better for Little Brothers/Sisters, and there were improvements in their relationships with their peers, compared to their control group counterparts.
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