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New data proves that one-to-one mentoring causes a significant decline in risk factors


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    

Study: Mentoring Leads to Dramatic Decline in Risk Factors Among Youth; Those Without Mentors See Troubling Increase

Mentored youth see 21% decline in risk factors including violent behavior; 13% increase in risk factors from bullying to sexual activity among non-mentored youth

New York – June 17, 2014 – New data released today proves that one-to-one mentoring causes a significant decline in risk factors such as violent behavior and drug and alcohol use in young people. According to a study conducted by Philliber Research Associates (PRA), risk factors declined 21% among mentored youth after a period of 15 months but increased 13% among non-mentored youth over the same period.

The study includes data collected from 224 young people, including 97 who were enrolled in a community-based mentoring program through Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City (BBBS of NYC), the nation’s first and New York’s largest mentoring organization. BBBS of NYC commissioned the study.

“This study demonstrates that mentoring has a positive impact on the lives of young people, reducing risk factors that would impede their path to success in life and giving them a chance to reach their full potential,” said Dr. Bill Philliber, principal at Philliber Research Associates. “Young people who have mentors in their lives achieve higher levels of academic success, develop stronger relationships with their peers and families, and make better choices.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Mentoring has a greater impact among middle school students than on those in high school
  • Mentoring is equally effective for both sexes, with risk factors declining 26% among mentored boys and 29% among mentored girls
  • Positive effects of mentoring were reported at 6 months, with continued positive change reported after 15 months
  • Among young people in grades 7-9, mentored students reported reduced risk-taking in the domains of violence, school, bullying and sexual activity; non-mentored students reported greater risk-taking in the domains of family, violence, school, poor grades, bullying, sexual activity and substance abuse
  • Among young people in grades 10-12, mentored students reported reduced risk-taking in the domains of family, school, sex and substance abuse; non-mentored students reported greater risk-taking in the domains of family, violence, school, poor grades, bullying, sexual activity, and substance abuse

“Whether it is a parent, teacher, coach or volunteer like one of our Big Brothers or Big Sisters, we have always strongly believed that mentoring is the best way to make a positive impact on a young person’s life,” said Hector Batista, chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City. “By commissioning this study, we now have evidence that proves our programs are beneficial, and help to mitigate the risk factors these children of New York City are exposed to every day.”

Of the mentored youth who were surveyed, 72% were between 10 and 15 years old. The majority of participants are being raised in a single-parent household, and are Hispanic (31%) or African-American (39%). When the study began, 96% of mentored youth were surveyed had at least one risk factor, while 60% had three or more. The most common risk factors included family issues (68%), school issues (61%) and violence issues (70%). Additionally, 24% of mentored youth who were surveyed had unsatisfactory grades.

The study took into account more than 30 risk factors, including a single-parent household, an incarcerated parent, school suspension, school absenteeism, bullying, alcohol use, cigarette use, drug use, poor grades, sexual activity and physical fights.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City

Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC (BBBS of NYC), the nation’s oldest and NYC’s largest youth mentoring organization, has served the changing needs of New York City’s most at-risk youth since 1904. The volunteer- and donor-based organization offers a variety of specialized mentoring programs to help children facing more complex challenges – including immigrant youth, children of incarcerated parents and those in foster care – as well as the Workplace Mentoring Program, which helps businesses throughout New York City positively impact the lives of young people and build a foundation for professional success. Additionally, since 1992 BBBS of NYC has worked through its Center for Training and Professional Development to equip non-profit professionals throughout New York City to develop and enhance their own mentor-based programs and organizations.

Through the support of individuals, foundations and corporations, this not-for-profit agency has been able to change the lives of the city’s most disadvantaged children, matching them with caring adult role models – dependable friends who can help to expand their horizons, realize their potential and enrich their futures. To learn more, become a mentor and/or offer support, please visit

About Philliber Research Associates

Philliber Research Associates, an independent research and evaluation firm, specializes in outcome-based evaluation and planning services for programs in education, health, and human services.  Founded in 1987, PRA has evaluated hundreds of programs across the United States and abroad. PRA is staffed by senior evaluators with Ph.D.-level degrees, and a standing staff of evaluation coordinators, data analysts, support staff, and business personnel. PRA serves human service organizations (education, health, and social services); arts and cultural institutions (performing arts, museums, and media programs); funding sources for not-for-profit organizations (foundations, government agencies, and other philanthropic associations); and not-for profits seeking to improve organizational effectiveness.

Media Contact:                  Tom Corsillo

                                      The Marino Organization

                                      (212) 889-0808, ext. 108


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