With the help of our donors, volunteers and partners, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes a Big impact on children's education. The effect has been confirmed by study after study and can be tracked and monitored using our best-in-class measurement tools.

Our Landmark Study

Our impact on education is evident in longstanding research conducted by Public Private Ventures in 1992 and 1993. When comparing those children matched with a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor to those waiting to be served by Big Brothers Big Sisters, these researchers found that:

  • Littles skipped half as many days of school as did their peers.
  • Littles felt more competent about doing schoolwork.
  • Littles skipped fewer classes than did their peers.

Children that are in school, in class, and engaged in their work are more likely to succeed.

What our current Littles say

Our impact on education is confirmed by those closest to it: our Littles. In a 2009, we commissioned industry leader Civic Enterprises to conduct a nationwide survey of our Bigs and Littles. The results speak volumes about the passion for education held by children enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs:

  • 97% of Littles said working hard in school is very important.
  • 95% of Littles said going to school and getting a good education is very important.
  • 94% of Littles said graduating from college is very important.

Children that work hard, recognize the value of education, and set their aspirations towards college are more likely to succeed.

What our alumni say

Our impact on education is felt long after Littles graduate from high school. In 2009, Harris Interactive conducted an online survey of alumni Littles from across the nation. Among those former Littles:

  • 77% reported doing better in school because of their Big.
  • 65% agreed their Big helped them reach a higher level of education that they thought possible.
  • 52% agreed their Big kept them from dropping out of high school.

Children that graduate from high school, perform well in school, realize achievements greater than their expectations are successful in school and in life.

Little steps lead to a Big impact

With the help of a network of donors, partners, family members, and advocates, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully matches at-risk youths with caring, adult role models. Research proves that children enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are more likely to improve in school and in their relationships with family and friends, and less likely to skip school or use illegal drugs or alcohol.

Success in education

At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we have confidence in our ability to impact children and put them on the right path. But it means even more when an outside study comes to the same conclusion.

Public/Private Ventures—a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the effectiveness of social policies, programs and community initiatives, especially as they affect youth and young adults—has carried out a thorough evaluation of the Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring program. Learn more > 

Higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships

Do you remember someone who encouraged you to believe in yourself, who encouraged you to work hard in school and in life? Big Brothers Big Sisters, with the help of donors, volunteers, partners, advocates and supporters, encourages the next generation of children. Our programs encourage children to set higher goals for high schools and college, improve their confidence in themselves, and help them have better, stronger relationships with their families. Learn more >

How do we know?

At the heart of all that Big Brothers Big Sisters does is our steadfast commitment to measuring and refining our programs to ensure we are making the most effective and longest lasting impact possible. We hold ourselves accountable to the donors, partners, advocates, and families that make our work possible. We hold ourselves accountable to the 240,000 Bigs that are making a difference in the lives of children each and every day. And we hold ourselves accountable to a generation of children ready to be impacted by our programs. 

How it all comes together

Big Brothers Big Sisters operates in approximately 330 communities across the United States - large and small, urban and rural. Our local agencies work with their colleagues across the nation to design and develop programs that are tailored to the needs of their community.

Big Brothers Big Sisters partners with individual donors, foundations, corporations, governments, and others to build the critical network of support that funds and enables the work of carefully matching children with caring adult mentors and providing ongoing support to the child, volunteer mentor and child’s family.

Professionally trained Big Brothers Big Sisters staff members work with our partners in the education and juvenile justice communities to find children facing adversity and assess how our programs can have the greatest impact. Big Brothers Big Sisters targets the children who need us most, including those living in single parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration.

How a Big becomes a Big—and a Little, a Little.

Before we make a match, we do our homework. After someone expresses an interest in becoming a Big, they go through a background check and careful interview process. Then we match Bigs and Littles based on location, personalities and preferences. And we provide full support from the start, so matches can grow into lasting, impactful friendships. The entire matching process is made possible through donations—we can’t do what we do best without them!

What are a Big and Little to do?

Each match is unique. Getting together doesn’t require a special occasion or expensive activity—just a few hours every month doing things the Little and Big already enjoy. For example:

Whom we serve

With the help of a network of donors, partners, and advocates in all 50 states, Big Brothers Big Sisters targets the children who need us most, including those living in single parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration. Starting something begins with finding a great match between a Big and a Little. Making these matches, and performing all the background work involved with them, is possible because of donations from people like you. It's also why we're able to offer such a wide variety of programs that pair children, ages 6 through 18, with role models in one-to-one relationships.

A focus on communities facing adversity

Big Brothers Big Sisters operates several special programs to help us meet the needs of communities facing adversity. These programs help us focus our work with donors and partners in recruiting new Bigs, meet the needs of traditionally underserved communities, and assist communities impacted by circumstances like parental incarceration or military deployment.