Breakthrough Study Finds Adults Mentored as Children in Big Brothers Big Sisters Are Better Educated and Wealthier Than Peers
MIAMI, June 16, 2009 — A study conducted by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters finds adults mentored as children through Big Brothers Big Sisters are more likely than peers with similar backgrounds but who were not involved in the program to have a four-year college degree and incomes of $75,000 or more. They also report strong relationships with their spouses, children and friends.
Big Brothers Big Sisters released the findings this week during its National Conference. The 2009 conference is being hosted in Miami and is sponsored by Comcast.
"The children we serve are among America's most vulnerable, whether they have one parent, live in households experiencing poverty or have a parent who is incarcerated," said Judy Vredenburgh, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and Chief Executive Officer. "Independent research has told us for some time that Big Brothers Big Sisters improves the odds that children we serve will succeed educationally and socially. This is our first large-scale examination of the long-term benefits, suggesting we have the potential to break cycles too often associated with family and community poverty."
The cross-sectional study was commissioned by Big Brothers Big Sisters to gather evidence that its long-term structured mentoring program's effects reach far beyond the time that children are enrolled in the program. The nation's largest donor supported volunteer mentoring network's 255,000 community- and school-based mentoring matches depends on donations to recruit, carefully match and screen volunteers and provide ongoing support to the mentors, children and their families.
Among the study's specific findings:
* Alumni were 75% more likely than non-alumni to have received a four-year college degree (28% of alumni vs. 16% of non-alumni).
* Alumni were 39% more likely than non-alumni to have current household incomes of $75,000 or higher (46% of alumni vs. 33% of non-alumni).
* A majority of alumni are extremely or very satisfied with their relationships to friends (72%), family (65%) and spouses (62%). Fewer non-alumni report the same level of satisfaction (46%, 50% and 40%, respectively).
* Approximately two in three (64%) alumni are extremely or very satisfied with life compared to just over one in three (35%) non-alumni.
* A majority of alumni (62%) perceive themselves to have achieved a higher level of success than their peers who were not involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. Furthermore, this is twice as many as the 31% of non-alumni who report being more successful than other people they grew up with.
* Adult Littles are more likely than non-alumni to be engaged in their community over the past 12 months, particularly when it comes to volunteering (52% vs 35%, respectively) and holding a leadership role in an organization working on an issue (29% vs. 16%, respectively).