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Big Brothers Big Sisters

230 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Contact Information
Thomas M McKenna

Program Specifications


Prevention, Intervention

Age/Grade Level:

Middle School, High School





Target Settings:

Rural, Urban, Suburban, Inner City

Target Groups:


Other Participation Criteria:



Big Brothers/Big Sisters (BB/BS) is a federation of more than 500 agencies that serve children and adolescents. The basic concept of the BB/BS program is not to ameliorate specific problems, but to provide support in all aspects of young people's lives through a professionally supported one-to-one relationship with a caring adult. During their time together, the mentor and youth engage in developmentally appropriate activities, such as walking; visiting a library; washing the car; playing catch; attending a play, school activity, or sporting event. Individual programs are customized to local needs while a national infrastructure oversees recruitment, screening, matching, and supervision to ensure that quality mentors are selected; that good mentor-mentee matches are made; and that these relationships receive adequate staff supervision and support.

Program Descriptors Include:

Academic Improvement, Bullying/Violence, Extra Curricular, Mentoring/Tutoring, Substance Abuse

Program Rating:

Strong Evidence

Starting Year:


Students Served Per Year:

Last Verified:

March 19th, 2009

Strategies for Locating Students:


Reenrolled Students with Disabilities:


Risk Factors

Program addresses the following:

Individual Factors

  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Low achievement
  • Poor attendance

Family Factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Not living with both natural parents

Community Factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Youth social attitudes

Protective Factors

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults


  • Healthy/conventional beliefs and standards


  • Social competencies

Program Resources

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is or per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Donations, Foundations, Organizations/Agencies

Program Staff Includes:


Materials Used:

Supporting/Partner Organizations:

Evaluation Information

Description of Program Impact:
An extensive 18-month study using classical experimental design was used to evaluate the program. The researchers found among mentored youth, compared to the control group: reduced initiation of drug use, particularly for minority males; reduced initiation of alcohol use, particularly for minority females; reduced incidents of hitting someone; increased feeling of competence in school, particularly for minority females; improved grades, particularly for minority females; fewer skipped days of school, particularly for females.

How Evaluation Data Was Collected:
Outside experimental studies

Additional Evaluation Information: