Big Brother and Big (BBB) Sister Community Mentoring Program
BIG BROTHER AND BIG (BBB) SISTER 2
Big Brother and Big (BBB) Sister Community Mentoring Program
The Big Brothers and Big Sisters is dedicated to ensuring the youth are empowered to realize their full potential. Its main mission is to enable life-changing mentorship programs that would ignite the potential in youth. The program was founded in 1913, making it one of the oldest mentorship programs globally. The program serves youth in all settings, with the largest percentage being urban youth. According to the program heads, more than half of the youth in the program are from environments that affect them negatively (De Wit et al., 2020). This includes fostering and encouraging drug and substance abuse, increased crime, and unemployment. The program has absorbed more youth and introduced them into social services and others in public mental health concerns.
Developmental Relationships Programs
The organization is centered on individual and group mentoring programs. The programs are unique because the mentors and mentees choose the programs and activities according to their interests (Silke et al., 2019). The mentors are recruited through face-to-face, social media, websites, and newspaper posts. The mentors are 18 years or above and must have excellent knowledge of the youth’s matters and the organization fosters inclusion and diversity by accommodating mentors and mentees from a wide range of nationalities. Youth are required to become mentees voluntarily (Alfonso et al., 2019). Some young adults are referred to the program from various schools depending on their behaviors or needs. Three main categories of development relations programs are available in the organization.
The one-on-one mentoring program matches mentors with children or youth. The children and youth spend time with their mentors and engage in activities of their choice. This involves watching or engaging in recreational activities (Alfonso et al., 2019). The mentors are responsible for developing and fostering positive behavior and life-changing lifestyles that positively impact youth and children. The mentors can develop stronger bonds with the mentees, which may resonate in their futures. The impacts of this program have proven to develop increased confidence in the abilities of mentees, improving the security and comfort in most aspects conducted by the youth and children. It also improved self-efficacy, which is essential in developing self-reliance in youth.
In-school mentoring programs offer mentorship to children and youth in elementary schools. The in-school programs are essential for school-going youth because they provide confidential engagements between the mentors and mentees (Silke et al., 2019). The outcomes of these programs have proved to increase school retention among youth. It has also increased social skills improvements and the development of technical skills. The other program that BBBS undertakes involves shared journey programs. These are important because they induce mentoring through the engagement of mentors and mentees with similar goals. Instead of the mentors training and mentoring the mentees in the ordinary means, the program involves sharing experiences that lead to reconciliations (Alfonso et al., 2019). Indigenous and non-indigenous mentors engage with mentees through sharing and mobilizing reconciliation in their lives.
Evaluation of BBBS Programs
The effectiveness of the BBBS in mentoring youth and children has attracted more youth into the programs. This indicates that the programs have recorded continuous improvements associated with better behaviors in youth (Silke et al., 2019). The organization focuses on matching mentees with mentors who provide academic, social, and emotional mentorship to the youth. To ensure the most effective matching of mentors and mentees is met, the organization allows the local agencies to address the matching criteria. Each agency is allowed to recruit and retain mentors depending on their requirements. Agency leaders receive leadership and mentoring training on how best to mentor the mentees. The leaders are responsible for making mentors accountable for any misconduct. The mentors ensure youth and children achieve increased inspiration and confidence and avoid risky behaviors like drugs and teen pregnancies. The youth are also required to improve their academic and education achievements and performances.
The programs have recorded effectiveness as indicated by 80% of mentees explaining to have gained more confidence, increased ability to express emotions and feelings, and make better and informed decisions in life. More than 70% of the mentees indicated increased academic achievements after taking mentorship programs (Silke et al., 2019). This includes positive changes of attitude, increased school preparedness, and improved class participation. This shows that youth are transformed into better persons, contributing to improved communities and reduced social challenges associated with youth. Most youth who graduate from the BBBS programs serve as excellent examples to younger brothers and sisters. The mentors play an essential role in instilling trust, confidence, and pride in youth and parents.
The big brother and big (BBB) sister community mentoring program has been doing a great job mentoring youth and making them productive members of society. The organization is focused on transforming the lives of children facing adversity. It operates in rural and urban communities across the United States. The mentors work with challenged children in the communities, schools, and military facilities, to mention a few. BBB has had numerous benefits and strengths in performing its program activities. Despite the many benefits and strengths of the big brother and big (BBB) sister community mentoring program, it has some prevailing weaknesses that can be overcome. The main weaknesses of the program are insufficient funding, growth dependent on volunteers, and poor adverting.
Weaknesses of the Program
Insufficient funds have generated challenges in the performance of BBB programs. According to Alfonso et al. (2019), a lack of enough funds can undermine the operations of the mentoring program. BBB has over 300 agencies and supports over 170,000 children annually. The huge numbers of children require higher funding. BBB depends on donations, which mostly do not meet the financial needs of the organization. This has induced budget cuts across BBB programs. Budget cuts have ripple effects and can translate to fewer volunteer opportunities for mentors and the youth who need mentorship. This compromises the performance of the organization and reduces the effectiveness of the services offered.
BBB’s growth is dependent on volunteers and grants. Most of its operations are run by volunteers, and the organization uses grants and donations. This reduces the options for the organization in obtaining resources. It also leads to inefficient mechanisms of allocating the resources provided since the decisions are highly influenced by the donors and volunteers. According to Alfonso et al. (2019), BBB needs to diversify and diversify its funding sources to support sustainability and meet its growth objectives. This will improve the sources of funds and increase the strategies in allocations.
Inadequate oversight and false claims have been a challenge for the organization and need resolutions. The program does not have adequate oversight of its grants which might undermine the trust of those who make donations (Separ, 2013). A compromised trust may lead to a decline in the funding for the organization. It may also develop negative publicity that may affect the reputation of the organization. According to DOJ (2017), false claims lead to fines which reduce funds available for its operations. This weakness has caused the failure of many mentorship programs, and BBB would need to develop strategies to mitigate it.
The BBBS programs should be structured to increase engagement time for the mentor and mentees. This is because studies illustrate that mentorship programs that have more mentor-mentee time for interactions have better outcomes (Silke et al., 2019). This makes youth benefit more from such programs than programs that provide limited time for mentor-mentee interactions. BBBS should also consider providing more opportunities for mentees to work with mentors like most of the current mentorship programs, such as the service-learning program described by DuBois and Neville, which opposes the strategy used by BBBS.
In conclusion, the main issues that BBB needs to address are funding constraints, dependency on volunteers and donations, and poor adverting. This is because insufficient funding undermines the program’s effectiveness and reach. Overreliance on volunteers and donations undermines the program’s reliance and sustainability, and ineffective oversight limits the program’s ability to convince potential donors and grow funds.
Alfonso, Y. N., Johnson, S. L., Cheng, T., Jones, V., Ryan, L., Fein, J., & Bishai, D. (2019). A marginal cost analysis of a Big Brothers Big Sisters of America youth mentoring program: New evidence using statistical analysis. Children and youth services review, 101, 23-32.
De Wit, D. J., DuBois, D. L., Erdem, G., Larose, S., & Lipman, E. L. (2020). Predictors of mentoring relationship quality: Investigation from the perspectives of youth and parent participants in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada one‐to‐one mentoring programs. Journal of community psychology, 48(2), 192-208. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jcop.22244
DOJ. (2017, April 28). Big brothers big sisters of America to pay $1.6 million to resolve allegations of false claims for federal grants. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/big-brothers-big-sisters-america-pay-16-million-resolve-allegations-false-claims-federal
Separ, J. (2013, June 24). ‘Inadequate’ oversight of millions in federal grants by big brothers big sisters. Retrieved from https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/24/big-brothers-big-sisters-cant-account-23-million-f/
Silke, C., Brady, B., & Dolan, P. (2019). Relational dynamics in formal youth mentoring programmes: A longitudinal investigation into the association between relationship satisfaction and youth outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 104, 104343. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740919301045