Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Goals: To provide adult support and friendship to youth in one to one relationships.
Target Outcomes: To build relationships between youths from single family homes and adult volunteers.
Populations: Youths from age 6 to 18 from single family homes. Also involves adult volunteers and parental involvement for meetings and updates.
Problem: This program is designed to address the problem of youth violence and drug abuse in the hopes that a one on one relationship with an adult will deter youths from engaging in these behaviors.
Intervention: The program has several procedures that all involved in the program must go through.
- An orientation with the program is required for all the volunteers.
- Volunteers must be screened by an application, background check, and an assessment of whether they will be able to honor their time commitments.
- The youth in the program are assessed by a written application, interviews with them and their parents, assessment of their home life. This is to help make the best match between child and volunteer and to involve the parents and obtain their permission.
- The matches are made according to the needs of the child, the abilities of the volunteer and program and preferences of the parent.
- Contact between parent, volunteer and child is made with in two weeks of match and then monthly telephone contact with the parent/child and volunteer throughout the first year and quarterly contact with all during the entire match.
- Program can last from age 6 to age 18, starting at any age in between, basically it lasts as long as everyone is committed and involved.
Outcomes: These numbers are in comparison to youths who did not participate in the program.
- Were 46% less likely to initiate drug use during the study period.
- Were 27% less likely to initiate alcohol use.
- Were 33% less likely to hit someone
- Were better in academic behavior, attitudes, and performance
- Were more likely to have higher quality relationships with their parents or guardians
- Were more likely to have higher quality relationships with their peers at the end of the study
- These figures were the result of a study done in 1992 and 1993 with 1000 ten to sixteen year olds from eight agencies around the country. Half were matched with volunteers and the other half were put on a program “waitlist.” The activities of the two groups were then monitored for 18 months and compared to one another.