In the community-based program, Big Brother and Big Sister volunteers, 21 years of age/older, provide children and youth – our “Littles” - individualized time and attention on a regular basis, typically 2 – 4 times a month, for two to three hours. During unstructured weekly or bi-weekly outings, filled with conversations and shared activities, they develop a relationship that helps youth manage the every day challenges that are part of “growing up.” During the time with their Big, children gain new skills, explore new interests and test behaviors that expand their experience base beyond their family or neighborhood.
Over the course of time, children gain confidence, acquire new skills and competencies, and develop an enhanced capacity to care for others – all tasks that are a part of developing healthy maturity. Volunteers experience a sense of discovery and enjoyment as they see the world of possibility open up through the child’s eyes. An evaluation tool, The Program-based Outcome Evaluation Instrument (POE), demonstrates positive outcomes for children in the program.