Our mentoring has a significant, positive impact on girls’ lives across a broad spectrum of developmental outcomes. We measure success of current Little Sisters with an evidenced-based tool designed by Jean Rhodes of UMass Boston's Donahue Institute; and we partner with researchers and experts to further knowledge and improve practice in the field of mentoring.These measurements are applied to our Community-Based Mentoring (CBM) program and our Site-Based Mentoring program (SBM).
We include maintenance of positive outcomes along with improvements in our overall measures which indicate that Little Sisters are developing resiliency against risk factors they may face in their lives. This tool processes YOS data using the Reliable Change Index to determine meaningful change in scores. Because the index incorporates a margin of error and can determine between “significant improvement” and “trending toward significant improvement” in girls’ positive outcomes, the data we report will provide a more statistically rigorous analysis.
According to this tool, the Youth Outcomes Survey, Little Sisters in our programs experience notable improvement developmental areas that include:
Additionally, a 2011 survey of former Little Sisters indicated that girls in our programs are more likely to graduate from high school, 96% of Little Sisters graduate; and enroll in post-secondary education, 90% of Little Sisters enroll in college.
Experts in the fields of mentoring and research and design have conducted numerous studies on whether mentoring makes a difference. Big Sister Boston and our community have been active, willing participants in several such studies. Below is a collection of reports that provide insight into the research behind our approach.
"It can be difficult to say goodbye—especially when the end of the relationship feels like a loss or failure in some way to the participants. This study indicates that good closures to youth mentoring relationships require considerable scaffolding on the part of mentoring programs as well as follow through by all participants."
"Since the youths’ satisfaction and perceived helpfulness of mentors increased over time, mentors should be supported in developing their mentoring relationships, and instructed that it may take time for their mentees, especially girls, to trust them, accept their support, and enjoy their time together."
"For many of the girls in this study, opportunities to immerse themselves in the pleasure of fun moments, shared with an adult companion who was interested in and cared about them, were experiences that seemed to be emotionally enhancing in and of themselves."
"...the majority of youth in this study report that meeting with their mentors and involvement in the mentoring programs have had positive impacts in terms of improving school-related behavior, increasing youth development, and reducing negative or high-risk behaviors."
"By the end of the first school year, the program had improved Littles’ outcomes in a range of areas, including their academic attitudes, performance and behaviors."