BBBSA is a community monitoring program based in America that has focused on mentoring at-risk and adolescent children with a goal of shaping their antisocial behaviors, enhancing better academic success, attitudes and behaviors, peer and family relationships, and strengthening their self-concept (Mihalic, 2017). This program also contributed to building social and cultural relations. Children are vulnerable to some detrimental behavior such as drug abuse, bullying, and other crimes. Mentorship plays an important role in shaping their lives by preventing bad social influence. Parental mentorship is also significant concerning a childs behavior. Todays epidemic level of fatherlessness has increased the risk of a bad influence on the young children and adolescents. Concerning the goals and objectives of BBBSA, a more effective program should be implemented to combat the social harm that may result in children without a father figure. This paper will identify the types of evaluation research and study designs employed in articles on BBBSA program as well as their findings indicating the effectiveness of this program, negative outcomes, and future input for a successful program.
Different studies have evaluated the effectiveness of BBBSA, its impact, and other aspects related to its implementation such as value for money. The findings of these studies will be used to support the need to strengthen this program for our future generations. According to childtrends.org, (2017), an experimental evaluation design was used to evaluate the impact of community-based BBBS program. This study focused on school-age children and adolescents at risk. Additionally, Mihalic, (2017) also conducted an evaluative study using randomized control trials as well as quasi-experimental designs. In the studies, 1,138 youths were recruited and the results obtained for analysis. Givewell.org also used a meta-analytic review to evaluate the mentoring interventions concerning their effects on misbehavior outcomes for youths.
From the studies above, different findings indicated that this program was successful in taming the delinquency outcomes for youths. From the Mihalic, (2017) research, the randomized evaluation found that the program demonstrated a cut in illicit drug initiation by 40%. This was an achievement concerning the degree of harm caused by drugs to the children and adolescents. The study also demonstrated a 27% reduction in alcohol initiation that was also a significant achievement for this program. From the study, the children were found to be less likely to hit others. Other findings indicated that there were considerable reductions in truancy and cutting classes that improved their academic performance. Most of the children and adolescents with unacceptable social behaviors show less interest in academic excellence.
According to Moodie and Fisher, (2009), the BBBSA indicated an excellent value for money. From their study, the benefits of the program are more than its cost. Again, the children who dont participate in the program, require other services to model their behavior which is costly than paying for the BBBSA program. From the givewell.org, (2017) meta-analysis, the program has achieved a lot, but a more effective design and testing of mentoring intervention should be used to identify the essential specificity for effective practice. Another outcome regarding the achievements of this program is that students who participated had an increased parental relationship quality as well as peer relationship. The above outcome showed an improved social relationship and reduced crime among adolescents.
Concerning the negative outcomes of the BBBSA program, Herrera, Grossman, Kauh, and McMaken, (2011), youths who participated in this program for three months or below and then called off had a negative response. Some of the negative effects included diminished self-worth and scholastic competence. The finding above was compared to students who sustained their relationships with their mentors for more than a year. This outcome is also common for students who terminated their relationships in their middle schools. For the results of this study, it is indicative that the longer the stay, better outcomes were observed. Positive effects of this program are observable at one year following enrollment.
Concerning the future practice of reducing crime, some of the effective changes in this program include increasing the mentorship period for all children at risk. The success of this program is to have all children and adolescents meet their goals in life. For those at risk, they have an external force that may affect the mentorship program. The trained peers should also be aware of all the risk factors concerning all children at high risk and strengthen the relationship. Children at risk include the fatherless and those leaving with peers who have harmful social behaviors such as crime, drugs and alcohol abuse. Well trained mentors and an increased period of mentorship will be effective concerning future crime reduction.
In conclusion, the BBBSA program has achieved almost all of its goals including expanding the program internationally. The benefit of this program cannot be compared with its cost because it has done a lot in shaping the future generation. Concerning the current epidemic levels of fatherlessness, children are at high risk of getting involved in crime among other criminal activities that may affect their success. Equipping the mentors with adequate skills and ensuring zero termination from the program will, therefore, be effective in future concerning crime reduction.
Mihalic, S. (2017). Big Brothers Big Sisters of America mentoring program | Fact Sheet | Blueprints Programs. [online] Blueprintsprograms.com. Available at: http://www.blueprintsprograms.com/factsheet/big-brothers-big-sisters-of-america [Accessed 16 Dec. 2017].
Child Trends. (2017). Big Brothers/Big Sisters Community-Based Mentoring - Child Trends. [online] Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/programs/big-brothersbig-sisters-community-based-mentoring/ [Accessed 16 Dec. 2017].
GiveWell. (2017). Big Brothers Big Sisters of America | GiveWell. [online] Available at: https://www.givewell.org/united-states/charities/big-brothers-big-sisters [Accessed 16 Dec. 2017].
Herrera, C., Grossman, J. B., Kauh, T. J., & McMaken, J. (2011). Mentoring in Schools: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring. Child Development, 82, 1, 346-361.
Moodie, M. L., & Fisher, J. (2009). Are youth mentoring programs good value-for-money? An evaluation of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Melbourne Program. Bmc Public Health, 9, 1, 1-9.
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