The Impact of Mentoring Programs

Big Brothers Big Sisters

According to a study done by Susan Jekielek, Kristin A. Moore, and Elizabeth C. Hair in 2002, “The mentoring of youth by adults is one of the more promising program approaches intended to promote positive youth outcomes.” Their study “examines the role that mentoring plays in helping youth develop a broad array of strengths and capacities in the following three domains of child well-being: education and cognitive attainment; health and safety; and social and emotional well-being.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters was one of the agencies examined to determine the impact its program has on youth. Listed below are the ways Big Brothers Big Sisters strengthens the three domains of child well-being.

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It was found that:

-“Children need positive relationships with caring adults. Parents generally fill this central need, but many children benefit from relationships with other adults to supplement—or in some cases, substitute for— relationships with their parents.”

-“Overall, youth participating in mentoring relationships improved on some important educational measures.”

-“Youth participating in mentoring programs also had better attitudes and behaviors at school and have better chances of attending college.”

-“Mentoring shows promise in helping youth develop healthy and safe behaviors.”

-“Compared with non-participants, youth who participate in programs that include mentoring have less drug and alcohol use (especially among minority youth) and – in some but not all studies — fewer delinquent behaviors.”

-“Mentoring improves a number of social and behavioral outcomes, although the effects are sometimes indirect.”

-“However, research suggests that youth improve in this outcome because mentoring improves parental relationships, which improves youths’ self-worth. In addition to experiencing improved relationships with parents, youth participating in mentoring had more emotional support from peers and more positive attitudes toward their elders and toward helping others.”

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Source: Zalaquett, Carlos P., and Alana D. Lopez. “Learning from the stories of successful undergraduate Latina/Latino students: The importance of mentoring.”Mentoring & Tutoring 14.3 (2006): 337-353.

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