Opinion

School-Based Mentoring

 

I want to thank you for covering the latest study regarding the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) high school [mentoring] program in your [December] article, “Peer-to-Peer Pressures.” Having worked for BBBS for the past seven years in two communities, I can relate to some of the challenges depicted. Clearly, there is room for improvement for our high school groups. There is also significant positive change taking place.

The study shows that those youth matched with high school volunteers do not benefit as much as those who have adult mentors. This is determined by the “positive impacts” indicated in the study, but does not take into account any qualitative testimonials from the children who are matched to high school bigs.

Our bigs are not there to provide mentoring to children where, in only one year, there will be significant improvement in the child’s grades, efforts or quality of work. The bigs provide friendship; the littles are able to confide in them about their low grades, social dilemmas or personal challenges.

The study indicates that the more contact the high school bigs/littles had with BBBS staff, the better the littles fared. Our bigs and littles meet in groups, through matches that are facilitated by BBBS match support staff. Our BBBS staffers meet with their high school bigs prior to each meeting with their littles in order to address any questions or concerns the bigs may have. I am not sure how many of the high school bigs in the study have similar support systems in place.

Every year, we have more and more children asking their school counselors and teachers how they can have a high school big. Also, we have several former littles who want to become high school bigs themselves. When I interviewed Tre for the high school bigs program, I asked him why he wanted to be a Big Brother. Tre said that even though he does not do well in school and has many personal challenges at home, his Big Sister was always there for him, every week, talking, socializing and playing board games. Tre credits his Big Sister with encouraging him to become a chef when he graduates from high school.

I simply want to share with you the positive side to our high school volunteers and the impact they have on our children and community.

Armen Babajanian, Program Director
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas
Kerrville, Texas

 

Comments

Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.

DONORS & DONOR TRANSPARENCY

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Archives

Categories

Recent Comments

Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top