Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nation wide organization providing mentors for children 6-18. Asking for at least an hour a weekfor 18 months the program provides structured mentoring for at risk youth in the community. Being a Big is a good way to give back to your community. While Big Sisters are in ready supply (the waiting list for a girl to get a Big is about two weeks in Austin), boys have a harder time finding a Big Brother. The waiting list for a boy can be up to a year. The program makes sure to do same gender matching showing that either more boys are in need of mentors or fewer men are volunteering.
Studies show that children who have spent about 18 months with a “big” are:
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school
- 37% less likely to skip a class
- more confident of their performance in schoolwork
- one-third less likely to hit someone
- getting along better with their families
Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers had the greatest impact in the area of alcohol and substance abuse prevention. For every 100 youth between ages 10 and 16 who start using drugs, the study found, only 54 similar youth who are matched with a Big will start us
ing drugs. Minority boys and girls were the most strongly influenced; they were 70 percent less likely than their peers to initiate drug use.
If you areinterested in being a “Big” you can either click here or contact your local BigBrothers Big Sisters office.