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The majority of research on the BBBS model has focused on community-based mentoring which for over 100 years has been the cornerstone of BBBS mentoring. Since the year 2000, school-based mentoring has expanded rapidly, creating the need to study the effectiveness of the model. Large-scale evaluations of site-based programs have not been undertaken to date.
In the early 1990s, Public/Private Ventures, an independent research firm, studied the impact of BBBS mentoring on children and youth. The study included over 900 girls and boys between the ages of 10-16 from BBBS agencies in eight states in America. By comparing treatment and control groups, the study documented that BBBS mentoring had a positive impact on children’s lives. Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters was published in 1995 and showed that Little Brothers and Little Sisters were:
Big Brothers of Ontario, Canada, conducted a retrospective study in the 1990s. The study evaluated the impact that having a Big Brother had had on young men who were Little Brothers in 1980. The evaluation was carried out in partnership with the Trillium Foundation and the Social Planning & Research Council of Hamilton and District. Project Impact: A Program Evaluation of Big Brothers of Ontario was published in April of 1994.
Principle findings included:
In 1996, the BBBS program model was identified by The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado at Boulder as a Blueprint for Violence Prevention. The BBBS model of mentoring was selected from more than 600 programs as one of 11 models demonstrating the most effective practices in reducing adolescent violent crime, aggression, delinquency, and substance abuse.
Preliminary studies conducted by International Affiliates have also affirmed the positive impact of the BBBS model in their respective country programs. Additional comprehensive studies are currently in progress.
School Based Mentoring emerged as a BBBS model in the late 1990′s. Since then, it has grown rapidly and is now serving more than 130,000 children around the world.
BBBS of America first began evaluating school-based mentoring in 1997 and published Big Brothers Big sisters School-Based Mentoring: An Evaluation Summary of Five Pilot Programs in 1999. The study found that of the students participating in school-based mentoring:
Also published in 1999, School-Based Mentoring, A First Look Into Its Potential, conducted by Public/Private Ventures, reported that strong relationships can develop between a child and mentor within the school context. The study found that through integration into the school, mentors were able to take on the role of an educational advocate, collaborating with teachers and other school personnel. The findings suggested that well run, school-based mentoring programs were likely to be a powerful intervention for many disadvantaged children and youth.