Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound Programs
Our mentoring program is child/client centered, fundable and sustainable, results-oriented, evidence-based and driven, and aligned with our national strategic direction. We focus on three measurable outcomes that lead to lifelong success:
Improvement in Attitudes and Competencies
Important in the growth of a child is the development of aspirations and self-confidence. We align specific activities including use of art or music, leadership skill development, and improving relationship skills to bolster the child’s self esteem and positive behavior.
Risky Behavior Avoidance
We work with parents/guardians and Bigs to help youth get involved in music, sports, or other positive outlets. We advocate for youth who are already involved in the juvenile justice system to obtain resources to prevent and/or reduce recidivism.
Parents/guardians are required to allow access to their child’s academic data so that Bigs can help assure success in school by having access to attendance, behavior, and classroom performance information. We are building partnerships to support our Littles in tutoring, extracurricular academic activities, college readiness, and general school success.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
A focus for us in 2011 was analyzing how we can reduce the number of matches that close prematurely (less than one year). Careful analysis of past closures informed our work to:
- Raise our standards bar for all our documentation
- Require volunteers to attend their initial training before their match introduction without exception
- Thoroughly redo volunteer training and add an initial online component as well as follow-up training
- Improve our match creation process and the manner in which we support matches
- Significantly improve our rematch process
As for our area of need, we strongly believe in the importance of inclusion and diversity. Our Community Engagement Team is working each and every day to close the gap between youth of color and the number of mentors of color. We have several initiatives involving mentors, community members, and staff to address the needs of specific communities. Currently our intentional efforts are focused on the African American, Native American, and Latino communities.