Since 1904 Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City has helped over 100,000 needy children. It is one of the oldest and largest youth mentoring organizations in the United States. There are many different programs within the organization, the biggest one being the Traditional Mentoring Program, where kids aged 7-17 are paired up with an adult mentor. Other programs include the 9/11 Together We Stand Program where children who lost a parent or a close relative in the World Trade Center attacks are provided long-term help, the New American Partnership, which helps first generation youth Americans navigate a new world and culture, the Young Mothers program, which provides friends, information and resources to teenage mothers, and the FDNY Partnership Program that gives youth who lost a parent in the FDNY in the line of duty a mentor who is an active or retired firefighter, works for the FDNY or is a relative of someone in the FDNY. There are other programs, as well, that work with children in school, ones that help juveniles entangled in the criminal justice system, and ones that work with gifted students, to name a few.
The organization aims to help “children develop supportive relationships with positive role models” in order to “make a direct and lasting impact on their lives” (Big Brothers Big Sisters). Big and Littles are required to meet up at least twice a month. They can go anywhere and do anything (as long as the parent of the little is okay with it). Over the course of at least one year, the Big and Little form a relationship that helps both of them grow and learn. This relationship has been shown to have a lasting impact.
Studies that have been conducted on the Big Brother Big Sister program show unbelieveable results. According to the organization, researchers found that after spending 18 months with their Bigs, the Littles were less likely to begin using illegal drugs, begin using alcohol, skip school, skip a class, or to hit someone compared to those children who aren’t in the program. Moreover, the research showed “that the Littles were more confident of their performance in schoolwork and getting along better with their families” (Big Brothers Big Sisters).
Because of organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters needy children are given the opportunity to have a mentor and learn directly from a role model. It can help keep these children off of the streets and in school. The importance of programs such as this is clear from scientific studies conducted on participants. It just goes to show that a little bit of caring can go a long way.