We’ve always known we were making a positive impact on children and empowering them to succeed. A nationwide study confirmed it for us. Each time Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs a child with a role model, we start something incredible: a one-to-one relationship built on trust and friendship that can blossom into a future of unlimited potential. And thanks to the first-ever nationwide impact study of a mentoring organization, we have the facts to prove it.
What We Do
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut has 56 years of experience fostering long-lasting, professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships between young people and inspirational adults. With research-proven outcomes at its core, we aim for every child to have support from caring adults to ensure healthy development and success in life.
Why We Do It
An estimated 27,000 children in Connecticut are at-risk for dropping out of high school and becoming involved with the criminal justice system.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut inspires, engages, and transforms our local communities by helping youth achieve their full potential—contributing to healthier families, better schools, brighter futures, and stronger communities.
By the Numbers
Connecticut’s premier mentoring organization since 1966:
70,000+ children served in 56 years of operation
We have 26.5 full-time staff members who train hundreds of volunteers to serve 1,000+ children each year.
$2.8 M annual operating budget
Nation- leading results. During the past year:
Average match length of over 35 months, exceeding Big
Brothers Big Sisters of America’s national avg. by more than 6%
38% of Little Brothers and Sisters (“Littles”) experienced
greater enjoyment in school after enrolling in our program
56% more Littles engaged in protective behaviors (like going
to a library, museum or concert)
65% fewer Littles were subject to school discipline
95% of Littles said their Big Brother or Sister is a very
important adult in their life
An independent study conducted by Public/Private Ventures concluded that a child matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister for at least one year is affected powerfully:
98% report benefits in socio-emotional competence
95% report enhanced educational success
89% report maintained or increased avoidance of risky behaviors (e.g. drinking, smoking, drugs)
A 2009 study by Harris Interactive of former Little Brothers and Sisters who are now adults found that having a Big Brother or Big Sister results in life-long, positive changes:
90% said their relationship with their Big helped them make better choices during their childhood
77% reported doing better in school thanks to their Big
76% said their Big taught them right from wrong
81% said their Big changed their perspective on what they viewed as possible in their life
According to the study, Big Brothers Big Sisters programs were found to “focus less on specific problems after they occur, and more on meeting youths’ most basic developmental needs.”
“We have known all along that Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring has a long-lasting, positive effect on children’s confidence, grades, and social skills,” affirms Karen J. Mathis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s President and CEO, “and the results of this impact study scientifically confirm that belief.”
The matches that were observed shared everyday activities: eating out, playing sports or attending sports events, going to movies, sightseeing, and just hanging out together.
But what mattered to the children were not the activities. It was the fact that they had a caring adult in their lives. Because they had someone to confide in and to look up to, they were, in turn, doing better in school and at home. And at a time in their lives when even small choices can change the course of their future, the Littles were also avoiding violence and substance abuse.
In addition to the lives of Littles being changed for the better, the impact is contagious.
“When Little Brothers and Little Sisters feel good about themselves,” said Mathis, “they can positively impact their friends and families, their schools, and their communities. And as this important study has shown, these young people believe in themselves because a Big Brother or Big Sister believed in them.”
Public/Private Ventures, a national research organization with more than 30 years of experience in studying child development and social service issues, conducted the independent research.
The study was funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Commonwealth Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and an anonymous donor.