Big Brothers Big Sisters offers a proven mentoring program that helps at-risk young people develop positive relationships that contribute to better futures. To help strengthen affiliates in the Carolinas and expand their reach to more children from single-parent or no-parent homes, The Duke Endowment in 2000 launched a five-year, $2.1 million effort that involved 48 grants and 15 affiliates in North Carolina and South Carolina. This initiative is closed.
The Duke Endowment's mission, as defined by its founder, includes services to "orphans and half orphans." Today, the Endowment defines these children as those who are without the benefit of support by family, or who are at risk of losing such support. Finding effective ways to reach these children is a challenge, as they exist in myriad situations throughout society.
One-on-one Mentors Can Make a Difference
Several national studies prove that one-on-one mentoring between a child and a caring adult can shape young lives. Because children from single-parent or no-parent homes are more likely to engage in negative or self-destructive behaviors, the importance of mentoring increases.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest and largest mentoring organization in the United States and a recognized leader in one-on-one youth services. Community-based volunteers meet one-on-one with their "little" brothers or sisters two to four times a month. School-based mentors and their "littles" typically meet once a week during the school year.
Helping Mentors Reach More Children
To help Big Brothers Big Sisters reach more children from single-parent or no-parent households and help the organization strengthen its internal operations and evaluation methods, The Duke Endowment started this mentoring project in 2000, providing grants to 15 affiliates to expand their numbers of mentor/mentee matches in both community settings and within schools. The Duke Endowment also made grants to 12 of the 15 affiliates (three closed their doors or merged during the project's timeframe) to help them incorporate new evaluation methods that provide strong evidence of success and document effectiveness.
The Endowment hoped the effort would:
- improve positive outcomes for children
- increase the reach of Endowment, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, to more children from single-parent and no-parent homes
- improve internal operations at each affiliate to provide more consistency in program delivery and evaluation across all affiliates
In 2013, the Endowment approved a grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to help local affiliates focus specifically on improving educational outcomes for their matches.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, Charlotte
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Piedmont, High Point
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, Raleigh
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina, Asheville
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, Winston-Salem
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia, Columbia
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Carolina Youth Development Center, North Charleston
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate, Greenville