Tuesday, February 13, 2018

For kids, especially those who are marginalized or underprivileged, having a mentor can make all the difference. Mentorship has been proven to help kids have higher self-esteem, improve their interpersonal relationships, encourage them to do better in school, and to make better life choices. Kids who have mentors are also more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college. 

In an effort to make sure kids from all backgrounds have access to a mentor, an organization called Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) pairs them with a mentor, aka a "Big," for at least a year with a dedicated social worker overseeing each match. 

The program has been around since 1904 for good reason — it works. BBBS's New York City chapter provides to over 5,000 kids annually, and, according to the organization,  99 percent of  mentees aka "Littles" are promoted to the next grade, 99 percent of high school seniors graduate (compared to the 72 percent average), and 93 percent are accepted into college. 

Being a mentor also has great benefits for the adults who participate. It can give people a sense of accomplishment, increased self-esteem, increased patience, and help them to feel connected to something bigger than themselves.

To see how impactful this mentorship program has been for those involved, we sat down with three "Bigs" and their "Littles."