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Big Brothers Big Sisters Receives $1.29 Million Grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies to Study School-Based Mentoring

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Big Brothers Big Sisters |

Noreen Shanfelter Director, Media and Public Relations 215.665.7778 (PHILADELPHIA, PA. January 19, 2005). Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has received a $1.29 million grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies to fund the first major impact study ever done on school-based mentoring. The comprehensive, independent study is examining the impact that Big Brothers and Big Sisters have on middle school children who are enrolled in the organization’s ‘Bigs in Schools’ program. The research team is also comparing the grades and behavior of students who meet with a Big Brother or Big Sister in school with those of students who do not. The 10 cities in the study are Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Dalton, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Ellsworth, Maine; Oak Harbor, Washington; St. Louis, Missouri; Show Low, Arizona, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Public/Private Ventures (P/PV), a Philadelphia-based research group is conducting the study. They also did the landmark 1995 Big Brothers Big Sisters impact study that showed that youth enrolled in the organization’s community-based program who had Big Brothers or Big Sisters were substantially less likely to use drugs and alcohol and to skip school than their peers who did not have a Big. This is the study that the entire mentoring community and its supporters are waiting for, said Judy Vredenburgh, President & CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Based on the three studies our organization has done since 1999, we know that school-based mentoring yields positive results. This comprehensive, independent study is measuring the impact of our ‘Bigs in Schools’ mentoring program using a number of variables that contribute to success. It will help us create a blueprint for action for our 470 agencies across the country, she said. We have long been interested in what kind of impact school-based mentoring can have on a child, said Charles Roussel, Director of the Disadvantaged Children and Youth Program at The Atlantic Philanthropies. Early evidence suggests that mentoring in the school setting is beneficial to kids. Understanding the measurable impacts on keeping kids engaged in learning and connected to supportive adults is our goal in funding this study. We believe it is important to learn what positive impacts accrue to children mentored in a school setting using the Big Brothers Big Sisters model and under what circumstances they occur, said Roussel. The major differences between Big Brothers Big Sisters’ two largest programs– school- and community-based are where the meetings occur and how children are enrolled in the program. In school-based mentoring, “Bigs” and “Littles” meet on the premises of the school; teachers or counselors usually refer the children. Parental consent is secured. In the community- based program, a parent or guardian enrolls his or her child and the Big and Little engage in neighborhood activities. School-based mentoring is the fastest growing program of Big Brothers Big Sisters. It is the lynchpin of the organization’s Strategic Growth Plan, which calls for growing to serve one million children by the year 2010. # # # The Atlantic Philanthropies are a group of Bermuda-based charitable foundations whose grant investments are focused internationally in four program fields: Ageing, Disadvantaged Children and Youth, Population Health and Reconciliation and Human Rights. Big Brother Big Sisters, founded in 1904, is the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States. In 2004, the organization served some 225,000 youth, ages six through 18, in 5,000 communities across the country in one-to-one relationships. A year ago, Forbes magazine placed Big Brothers Big Sisters on its Gold-Star list of the top 10 charities for its excellence in efficiency and effectiveness. The national office is located in Philadelphia, PA. For additional information visit

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