Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Community and School Based programs are proven to be effective in reducing risk for children facing adversity. Much of the professional effort is put forth in creating and supporting healthy and safe matches with youth focuses on the critical steps necessary to build strong and long lasting relationships with caring adults. Once mutual trust is established, the road to positive outcomes is actualized. Research indicates that improving socio-emotional competencies can ultimately improve school performance, higher graduation rates and decreased engagement in risky behaviors (Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Youth Outcome Report, Executive Summary, January 2012).
National research shows that 83.5% of youth enrolled in Community Based Mentoring and 74% of youth enrolled in School Based mentoring maintained or improved in all three strategic outcome areas.
If the students most at risk for dropping out are successfully engaged with other students and adult mentors, they should expect improvement in the strategic outcomes, and graduate from High School. There has never been a targeted mentoring approach like this implemented to reduce high school drop outs. If this pilot is successful it could be a model that could be duplicated in other districts where truancy leads to drop outs.