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Big Sister Association of Greater Boston Inc

 20 Park Plaza, Suite 1420
 Boston, MA 02116
[P] (617) 236-8060
[F] (617) 236-8075
http://www.bigsister.org/
[email protected]
Ariel Brickman
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INCORPORATED: 1955
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2150651

LAST UPDATED: 11/16/2017
Organization DBA Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston ignites girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development.

 

Mission Statement

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston ignites girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development.

 


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $3,850,000.00
Projected Expense $3,959,721.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Big for a Day
  • Community-Based Mentoring
  • High School Mentoring Academy (HSMA)
  • Life Choices
  • Site-Based Mentoring

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston ignites girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development.

 


Background Statement

 

BSAGB was founded in 1951 by three Cambridge residents who recognized that mentoring programs existed for boys, but there were no such programs dedicated to supporting girls. The founders believed that the region’s girls could benefit from the support and counsel of an adult outside of the home, and thus created our signature mentoring program in which girls are matched with trained women mentors. In our first year, BSAGB matched six girls with mentors; 66 years later, we serve 2,700 girls annually throughout Greater Boston.

Big Sister Boston is immersed in the diverse communities we serve through a variety of programming. This includes Community-Based Mentoring, our largest one-to-one program, and Site-Based Mentoring, which takes place in schools and community centers in Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy. We also provide enrichment programs for Sisters that are focused on college and career, STEM, civic engagement, health and fitness, and the arts. Our Life Choices group mentoring program fosters sisterhood among adolescent girls. In our Real Choices Strong Voices workshops, Big and Little Sisters engage in activities and discussions facilitated by a staff member that are focused on goal-setting, puberty, and sexual health. High School Mentoring Academy is a specialized site-based program in which teen students from Boston Latin Academy mentor Little Sisters at the Trotter Innovation School.

We have expanded programming to support teen Little Sisters by boosting their skills, experiences, and access to resources. Our Sister Scholars program connects Little Sisters to scholarships and college resources. Girls ages 13-20 can serve on our Little Sister Board, developing leadership skills through youth-led activities including community service events. We establish a strong presence in our communities through partnerships to recruit volunteers, connect Big and Little Sisters to local enrichment activities, and help girls and their families access necessary resources.

BSAGB has also been named by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) as National Agency of the Year for our best practices, program excellence, and fiscal responsibility. We believe that all children can benefit from the care and guidance of an adult mentor and, that when girls’ unique needs are addressed, they thrive with increased confidence, improved relationships, and the ability to achieve their individual goals.

 


Impact Statement

For 66 years, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston (BSAGB) has been supporting girls’ healthy development through the transformative power of positive mentoring relationships with women. We match girls from the ages of 7-15 with a caring adult mentor (Big Sister) and support the relationship until the girl (Little Sister) turns 20. As part of the national federation of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), with more than 300 agencies, we stand out: we are the only one focused exclusively on girls; we serve 2,700 girls throughout Greater Boston annually; and we consistently demonstrate operational and fiscal responsibility. As a testament to these results, we were recognized as the National Agency of the Year.

In 2016, Little Sisters demonstrated positive developmental outcomes:

86% plan to finish high school and go to college,

94% maintain positive achievement or improve in scholastic competence (improved school performance),

95% report positive achievement or improvements in social acceptance (high self-confidence), and

91% avoid risky behaviors, including using drugs or skipping school.

Our average match length in our Community-Based Mentoring program is 33 months. This far exceeds the 12-month milestone that is crucial to a Little Sister’s success, as research shows that mentoring relationships lasting at least 12 months have a life-long positive impact on girls.

Goals

1. Increase the number of girls matched with a mentor

2. Foster strong, enduring mentoring relationships that improve outcomes for girls, by providing individualized match support and connecting Sisters to community resources including our enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development

3. Raise sustainable revenue to increase and deepen our service to girls throughout Greater Boston

4. Expand partnerships with community organizations, corporations, and universities to: address girls’ educational and career goals as well as their interests; recruit Big Sisters; and match more girls with trained mentors

 


Needs Statement

 

1. Financial contributions. BSAGB raises nearly all of its revenue through private philanthropy. In order to maintain our program standards and operations, we must raise nearly $4M annually. Cash contributions support our general operations, including professional staff with experience and degrees in social work, child development, education, and public health.

2. Volunteers. We need women who are willing to commit at least one year to mentor a girl. Our most pressing recruitment need is for more women of color as mentors. Ninety percent of the girls we serve are girls of color, while 33% of our mentors are women of color.

3. Board members. BSAGB seeks senior executive leadership, particularly professionals of color, to serve on our Board of Directors. New members are recruited by the Nominating and Governance Committee and are officially welcomed to the Board of Directors at our Annual Meeting in May.

4. Staff diversity. We know that BSAGB best addresses the needs of our community when our staff reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of the population we serve. In addition to hiring and retaining staff of color, we seek out multilingual professionals to meet the needs of a growing number of girls from families who speak a primary language other than English.

 


CEO Statement

For six decades, we’ve been steadfast in our belief that by focusing on gender-specific mentoring, girls will have better outcomes, and, they do. We are preparing the next generation of business leaders, of mothers and doctors, of teachers and scientists through the attention of a caring adult and the professional support of Big Sister staff. Although adults may come in and out of the Little Sister’s life, their Big Sister is a constant that girls depend on and trust. This trust, coupled with shared experiences, open dialogue, understanding and compassion, creates a bond of love that is life changing for both the Little and Big Sister.

We are continuing to build upon our years of experience and knowledge that we have gained throughout our history. We are in the process of developing a new strategic plan that articulates an expanded vision and guides us toward broader, deeper impacts for the girls and communities we serve.

Through tailored training which encompasses cultural competency, as well as support groups, activity tracks, and advice, Big Sisters will be better equipped to guide their Little Sisters through the choices and challenges they face as girls, as teens, and as young women. Our new strategy also takes us further into the community by engaging more partners in our mission. In addition to expanding our reach with the creation of a Diversity Council, Alumnae Association and a Young Professional Board, we now have a Little Sister Board, which gives teens ages 13-20 a greater voice in the organization.

As an organization that is focused on the healthy development of girls and women, we know that relationships are oxygen. We provide opportunities for women to convene and learn from one another. Six years ago, we developed Conversations Among Women, a forum for women of color to address their real challenges; learn and share concrete strategies to tap into their inherent power to succeed, and, from this experience, engage them to inspire the success of the next generation. This year, we created a group called the New Girls Network consisting of corporate, non-profit, and public sector leaders who gather with the purpose of providing advice and counsel to young women. Our aim is to share the many pathways traveled, to support women as they are, and where they are, and to provide access and opportunity.

You have helped shape our history and you will help shape our future as a funder, a friend, as an advocate, as a Big Sister. It is because of you, that we are making multi-generational change in Greater Boston. Our history is her future.


Board Chair Statement

From both a governance and programmatic standpoint, Big Sister Boston’s greatest success is the number of girls we are able to serve annually, which is 2,700 throughout Greater Boston. Though we are the only affiliate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America federation to remain gender-specific in our services to girls, we consistently serve more children than the majority of affiliates across the country. Longer, stronger matches result in positive outcomes for girls in academics, parent and peer relationships, and avoidance of risk behaviors. Big Sister Boston was recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as the 2015 National Agency of the Year based on number of children we serve, the quality and strength of our Big and Little Sister match relationships, and our organization’s fiscal responsibility.

Our successes go hand-in-hand with our challenges. Simply put, we need more funding in order to serve more girls with professionally supported mentoring relationships and to provide skill-building enrichment programs, thus broadening our reach and impact throughout Greater Boston. This is not a theoretical need. For me, it is personal. I support Big Sister Boston – and am honored to serve as Chair of the Big Sister Boston Board – because I believe passionately in its service and mission. As an orphaned teen growing up outside Boston, I could have easily become a negative statistic. I found a mentor (actually, she found me!) who provided me with the positive support I needed to make healthy decisions, seek and achieve academic success, and to feel valued despite my circumstances. Big Sister Boston ensures that 2,700 girls throughout Greater Boston each year have these same experiences and successes, and with more financial support, we could do the same for even more girls in Greater Boston.


Geographic Area Served

Greater Boston Region-All Neighborhoods

69 cities and towns in Greater Boston, including

Boston, primarily: Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mission Hill, South End, Charlestown, East Boston; Jamaica Plain, Allston, Brighton

South of Boston to Foxboro, including: Quincy, Braintree, Randolph, Milton, Canton, Weymouth, Westwood

West to Wayland, including: Brookline, Waltham, Arlington, Waltham

North to Boxford, including: Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, Malden, Lynn, Peabody, Salem

Organization Categories

  1. Youth Development - Big Brother, Big Sisters
  2. Human Services - Children's and Youth Services
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

Big for a Day

As soon as a girl is enrolled with us she is eligible to participate in Big for a Day (BFAD) while she is waiting to be matched with a mentor. Every month our staff hosts activities for these girls who are then matched with women for whom the weekly commitment is not a fit. The fun, skill-building activities include yoga, science projects, safety training, and scavenger hunts, usually presented in collaboration with community partners including Microsoft, Boston Ballet, and WGBH. Women can volunteer as little as twice a year or as often as once a month. Volunteers who participate in Big for a Day are asked to transport the girls to and from the events, either by car or by public transportation.

 

Budget  $50,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Females Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

We define the short-term success of our program by number of participants. Our goal for total number of Little Sisters waiting to be matched attending BFAD activities is 300 or more a year. This outcome indicates that families continue to engage with the organization, including enrolling girls in additional BFAD activities and making sure that our staff has their up-to-date contact information if the family moves, which is common among the low-income population we reach through our mentoring and enrichment programs. Additionally, success for volunteers is defined by a positive experience in the short-term mentoring role. Some become Big Sisters in our one-to-one mentoring programs if they can make the time commitment to being a mentor.

 

Program Long-Term Success 

The objective of our Big for a Day program, which serves more than 300 girls annually, is to keep girls and families engaged with our organization while we work to match the girls with their long-term mentor. The success of this program is monitored by tracking the girls on our wait list and ensuring they are matched with a Big Sister. Once they are matched with a mentor, carefully chosen based on preferences, geography, shared interests, and background, they no longer participate in Big for a Day activities. As mentees in our one-to-one mentoring programs, our goal is for them to achieve key developmental outcomes, including higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships; avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success, through strong, enduring relationships with Big Sister mentors.

 

Program Success Monitored By 

In addition to monitoring participation by Little Sisters waiting to be matched, we distribute surveys to volunteers and girls waiting to be matched. We compile results of these surveys to identify what worked well with each activity as well as what should be improved when planning future activities. Through their direct involvement with the activity, volunteers provide feedback on various details including the type and pacing of the activity to feedback and reactions from their Little Sisters. Recent comments from volunteers include: “I loved the focus on women! It was subtle, which was great, but really reinforced a positive reflection on oneself! The event was also very well organized, communicated, etc. Awesome job;” and, “I thought the event was a great balance of education and fun, and all of the girls seemed to have a great time.”

Examples of Program Success 

 

Little Sister survey results from a recent Big for a Day program held through our partnership with Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center demonstrated their positive experiences. When asked if they would participate in this particular activity again, 84% responded yes. One Little Sister commented, “It was cool. I liked learning tennis—I liked my Big Sister!” Another explained that is was “really fun bonding with people I just met and playing new games.” Statements like these illustrate how BFAD helps girls increase their comfort level with new people and new experiences, which will enhance their ability to develop a trusting, long-term relationship with the Big Sister with whom they are later matched.

 

 


Community-Based Mentoring

Community-Based Mentoring (CBM) is Big Sister Association of Greater Boston’s (BSAGB) signature, one-to-one mentoring program that matches girls (Little Sisters) with women mentors (Big Sisters) to create lasting, impactful mentoring relationships. Girls can remain Little Sisters until the age of 20 years old, at which time they are old enough to become Big Sisters themselves.

We recruit Big Sisters through corporations, college campuses, community events, and other initiatives. Those interested in becoming a Big Sister undergo an intensive interview process with our professional staff, a criminal background check, and a reference check. We ask volunteers to commit to the program for at least one year, as research confirms that is the minimum amount of time required for a successful relationship to positively impact a Little Sister. Big Sisters attend a full day of gender-sensitive training, facilitated by our expert staff, in order to prepare for the roles, expectations, and boundaries of mentoring relationships. Sisters are matched based on geography and shared interests, and supported throughout their relationship by a staff Match Support Specialist who gives ongoing guidance and, when necessary, crisis intervention.

Big and Little Sisters participate in activities that increase the impact of one-to-one mentoring, including our enrichment programs that focus on college and career, STEM, civic engagement, health and fitness, and the arts. Examples include tours of the State House, visits to college campuses, and hands-on activities in hosted by local biotechnology companies and other partners. Our Real Choices Strong Voices workshop series creates a safe space for Sisters to have open communication around key topics such as puberty, sexual health, decision-making, and healthy relationships. Sisters can also access ticket opportunities to museums, performances, and sports events, as well as scholarships to attend one of the summer camps with which we partner. Little Sisters try activities they may have previously thought they were incapable of doing, further boosting their confidence to take healthy risks and pursue goals.

Additional opportunities engage teen Little Sisters and address their needs. These include Sister Scholars, in which our staff collaborates with Big Sisters to nominate Little Sisters for college scholarships, support the completion of student loan applications, and visit college campuses. Our Little Sister Board, open to teen Little Sisters ages 13-20, gives girls a voice in the organization, builds their leadership skills, and increases their engagement through service activities. Coordinated volunteer service is led through our Teen Matches Give Back initiative.

Through mentors, BSAGB can directly provide these opportunities that make girls in Greater Boston stronger, healthier, and better positioned for future success. Because of the length and strength of positive, trusting relationships that our organization has with thousands of mentors, families, and Boston-based partners, we serve as an entry point through which they can access critical services and enrichment opportunities. In addition to serving families through holiday giving, we maintain a database of resources including legal aid, health services, and assistance programs to address specific issues beyond mentoring that caregivers often share with program staff.

Budget  $1,600,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Mentoring
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Females At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

One way we promote near-term achievement in CBM is through the goal-setting aspect in which the Little Sister drives goals based on her interests. During the first three months, the Big Sister supports her Little Sister in a self-directed process of identifying two goals to work on during the first year of being matched. The process begins in their weekly match meetings where the Little Sister talks about her interests; selects related activities that they can do together; and building on these experiences, identifies two goals that are important to her. Examples of goals include improving in a school subject or trying a new sport. The Big and Little Sister document their goals, and share them with the Match Support Specialist (MSS). With this information, the MSS can follow-up on the mentee’s progress; get her caregiver’s insight; and support the Big Sister in planning activities with her Little Sister that can further her progress toward meeting goals. This support includes coaching and activity ideas, as well as connecting her to BSAGB enrichment programs.

Robert Putnam’s 2014 research on growing economic disparities showed that affluent families spend nine times more than poor families on enrichment services for children, proven to increase GPA, lower dropout rates, improve work habits, and build psychological resilience. Furthermore, affluent youth often get “more and better informal mentoring” than their low-income peers. While mentoring is not a new initiative, our gender-sensitive approach is unique, and reaches girls who have limited contact with mentors. Our intentional enrichment programs address girls’ developmental needs and connect Sisters to community resources. We partner with numerous community organizations throughout Greater Boston to identify and co-host these engaging activities that address the Arts; Career & Education; Health & Fitness; Civic Engagement; and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math. Designed to build skills and broaden Little Sisters’ horizons at different ages and stages of development, enrichment programs help the mentee learn alongside her mentor and achieve specific goals.

At least 75% of Little Sisters will report positive developmental outcomes, which reflect positive attitudes and confidence in reaching goals. In 2016, mentees in CBM maintained or improved positive outcomes in the following:

Social acceptance (increased confidence): 95%

Avoiding risky behaviors such as: using drugs and tobacco or skipping school: 97%

Educational expectations including graduating from high school, enrolling in college, and graduating from college: 92%

Scholastic competence (improved school performance): 97%

Our goal is to support a mentoring relationship to last at least 12 months as research has proven that when a successful relationship spans that length of time, it has a lifelong positive impact on a mentee. We are proud to share that the Sister relationships in Community-Based Mentoring (CBM) last an average of 33 months. This far exceeds the 12-month milestone that is crucial to a mentee’s success.


Program Long-Term Success 

We prepare Big Sisters to promote the positive social-emotional development of mentees through gender-sensitive training that helps mentors understand their mentees through a strengths-based lens and build lasting relationships across difference. There is an increasing awareness among educators and researchers that the skills associated with social emotional learning (SEL), including managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships, and problem solving, are keys to academic success at all levels of education. A recent study at Pennsylvania State and Duke Universities measured life outcomes over a 20-year period; it showed that high scores for sharing, cooperating, and helping others in childhood nearly always predicted whether a person graduated from high school on time and earned a college degree.

BSAGB prepares female students to finish high school and attend college by developing these social emotional skills at a time when it is most critical: elementary school. The girls we serve score favorably in social emotional skills before adolescence (as measured by the pre-test of the Youth Outcomes Survey). Our Little Sisters maintain those high scores (measured by the post-test) when their peers begin to show declines into adolescence and young adulthood. When a girl is matched with a Big Sister, she gains a confidante who listens to her, helps her see her strengths, validates her ideas, and provides encouragement. These unique one-to-one relationships help girls develop self-confidence and social-emotional skills during a critical period in their development.

Our long-term goal is to create positive change within communities, by improving girls’ social-emotional development and educational achievement. According to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), with each year of schooling, a girl’s earning power is increased by 10-20%, which increases to 15-25% with each year of secondary education. In 2014, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership reported survey results proving that at-risk mentored youth who had self-reported aspirations to attend college were more likely to achieve that goal as young adults than non-mentored youth with similar risk factors. In 2016, 92% of mentees in our Community-Based Mentoring program reported maintaining positive outcomes or improving in their educational expectations, including finishing high school and going to college. These outcomes underscore the need for our services that, according to CGI, help “break the intergenerational chain of limited education and poverty that has put our girls at risk.” Girls are supported and empowered to envision and embark on educational and career pathways to financial stability, contributing to thriving communities.

Program Success Monitored By 

Our case management tool is the Agency Information Management system (AIM), a proprietary database used throughout Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA). We use AIM to enroll, match, support Sisters, and manage workflow. Our management team, on a weekly basis, reviews data as it relates to: number of new applications, percent of applicants that progress to interviews and training, number of new relationships created, and length of relationships. We compare these figures to prior years and results across the BBBSA network. We look for changes in trends, investigate any concerns, and identify areas for improvement through standing meetings or ad-hoc committees as needed. From recruiting Big and Little Sisters to supporting their relationships, we are committed to quality customer service. Managers evaluate calls our staff make to girls, their caregivers, and mentors, to ensure quality customer service. They provide feedback on staff performance, coaching them on cultural sensitivity, building rapport, and survey administration.

We use the Strength of Relationship survey (SOR) to gauge the health of a mentoring relationship in measurable terms. We administer the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS) to measure the following developmental outcomes of program participants: Scholastic Competence, Social Acceptance, Educational Expectations, Grades, Attitudes toward Risky Behaviors, and Trust in Adults. Both surveys were developed by Jean Rhodes, Jean Grossman, and Carla Herrera of Public/Private Ventures in collaboration with BBBSA. A child’s response to specific survey questions informs our staff about what is going well, and what areas need strengthening. Regular review of individual and collective survey responses spurs continuous improvement in the services we provide.
Examples of Program Success 

 

In February 2016, Little Sister Justina, 16, received the Light of Dawnn Scholarship from John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. and The Foundation To Be Named Later. The college scholarship recognizes high school seniors for their commitment to community work. Justina was nominated by BSAGB as part of our Sister Scholars program that connects teen Little Sisters to resources for post-secondary planning.

Justina has volunteered for more than five years at Solutions at Work, supporting homeless or impoverished children and families. Her goal is to become a lawyer who advocates for children and families. Held back in middle school, Justina was recently awarded an additional scholarship to attend a college in New Hampshire with a long-term goal of attending Harvard Law School after receiving her bachelor's degree. The support of Maggie Walenty, her Big Sister for the past eight years, has helped foster her confidence and conviction to succeed. From participating with Justina in our Real Choices Strong Voices workshop on goal-setting at the beginning of her high school years to helping her apply for scholarships toward the end, Big Sister Maggie has encouraged Little Sister Justina to aim high and stay the course.


High School Mentoring Academy (HSMA)

High School Mentoring Academy (HSMA) is a unique site-based program that engages teen girls from a local high school as mentors to Little Sisters at the nearby elementary school. Big and Little Sisters are carefully matched based on shared interests and background, and meet one day a week during after-school hours, from mid-October to the end of May. Over the course of the year, Sisters develop supportive relationships that positively impact both girls, and continue to meet in subsequent school years until one of the Sisters graduates. According to the Search Institute, relationships with caring adults and peers have been linked to better grades, higher aspirations for the future, and participation in college-preparatory activities. 

The HSMA Big Sisters also participate in Girls’ Leadership Project (GLP), facilitated by our staff. These one-hour sessions start in late September with three weeks of orientation, and then take place after their match meetings. In GLP, Big Sisters discuss their relationships with their Little Sisters and participate in activities that build their leadership skills and address their educational and development. Our structured curriculum explores topics facing adolescent girls, including media literacy, bullying, gender roles, diversity and respecting differences, in addition to effective communication, building healthy relationships, and fostering leadership. Big Sisters work with our staff to determine curricula and discussions to explore, and what skills they want to develop. Two girls are selected to serve as Student Leaders. These positions provide HSMA Big Sisters an opportunity to further develop their leadership skills through facilitating discussions in GLP and recruiting new Big Sisters.

An annual off-site retreat fosters community and team-building as well as enables Big Sisters to focus on their experiences as mentors. Additionally, female employee volunteers from a local corporation engage with GLP Big Sisters as leaders and role models. In the spring, they are matched in one-to-one mentoring relationships with high school senior Big Sisters. They provide emotional support and help their mentees address needs that are more specific to each individual's post-secondary path, including: helping identify and analyze criteria to choose a college; strategizing on time management; and applying for financial aid.

Budget  $82,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Mentoring
Population Served Females K-12 (5-19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

High School Mentoring Academy is part of our Site-Based Mentoring program (SBM). In 2016, mentees in SBM reported positive outcomes in the following:

Social acceptance (increased confidence): 96%

Avoiding risky behaviors such as: using drugs and tobacco or skipping school: 91%

Educational expectations including graduating from high school, enrolling in college, and graduating from college: 86%

Scholastic competence (improved school performance): 94%

Positive outcomes for Little Sisters reflect Big Sisters’ success in serving as role models, skills we help them develop by trusting them to carry out these roles with younger girls. In 2016, Sister relationships in SBM lasted an average of 21 months, exceeding the 12-month benchmark that research has linked to a positive life-long impact. At least 85% of high school Big Sisters who are not graduating seniors continue in both HSMA and GLP the following academic year, contributing to longer, stronger mentoring relationships.

Program Long-Term Success 

As role models, High School Mentoring Academy (HSMA) mentors will impact the future of younger girls in their  community. One example of academic success is seeing former mentees from the Trotter Innovation School gain entrance to Boston Latin Academy and become mentors themselves. Little Sisters’ positive developmental outcomes are an indicator of their Big Sisters’ support.

At least 75% of Little Sisters in our Site-Based Mentoring programs will report positive developmental outcomes in their educational expectations, scholastic competence, social acceptance, and avoidance of risky behaviors. We measure developmental outcomes of mentees using the Youth Outcomes Survey, described further in the Site-Based Mentoring description; HSMA mentees are included in the SBM results.

In addition to all Big Sisters developing leadership skills through mentoring and participation in GLP sessions, two will be selected as Student Leaders. They will also benefit from career coaching, college advising, and other resources we provide. Our goal is that at least 90% of Big Sisters who are seniors will graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary education or contribute positively to their community such as through a year of service or employment. Additionally, as many high school girls in HSMA are from low-income families, they will gain insight and exposure to a professional world to which they may not have access otherwise, enhancing their ability to navigate their future higher education and professional environments.

Program Success Monitored By 

We hold ourselves accountable for all mentees served in our programs to achieve key developmental outcomes, including higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships; avoidance of risky behaviors; and educational success, as measured by the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS) evaluation tool. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) and researcher Jean Rhodes, PhD., Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, created this survey tool, used nationwide by BBBSA affiliates. Administered prior to the start of each match, and then at one-year intervals, the YOS asks 32 questions related to the youth’s feelings about expectations, behaviors, and academic performance. We also use the Strength of Relationship survey (SOR) to gauge a mentoring relationship’s intensity in measurable terms. A child’s response to specific survey questions informs our staff about what is going well, and what areas need strengthening.

HSMA mentors also provide qualitative feedback on GLP through annual surveys that inform program improvements. 

Examples of Program Success 

The following success stories illustrate High School Mentoring Academy’s positive impacts on both Big and Little Sisters.

Before becoming a HSMA Big Sister, Nelly was concerned that her experience with younger children was limited. However, inspired by her own big sisters whom she regarded as mentors, she wanted to give back by providing support and encouragement to a younger girl. While juggling a rigorous courseload as well as various responsibilities outside of school, Big Sister Nelly maintained a strong bond with her Little Sister Jaylani over their three-year relationship. “She tries hard. I know that as a fact and I want to try hard just like her,” Jaylani explained. At first hesitant to participate in certain activities, over time Jaylani gained the confidence and communication skills that helped her win a seat on her fifth grade student council. Big Sister Nelly also improved her communication skills, through a collaborative book project she carried out with her Comcast volunteer mentor. She graduated from Boston Latin Academy in June 2017 and was awarded the prestigious Peter Gammons Scholarship from the Foundation To Be Named Later. Big Sister Nelly will study nursing at Boston College in the fall. Little Sister Jaylani continues to thrive, developing positive relationships with peers and teachers and working hard toward a brighter future.

Gernell, a junior at Boston Latin Academy, brings a unique perspective to her role as a Big Sister in High School Mentoring Academy: she was once a Little Sister herself. In ninth grade she was matched with Little Sister Laila, a second grader at Trotter Innovation School. Their one-to-one mentoring relationship has been beneficial to both Sisters, as evidenced by their increased confidence and engagement with their peers, Laila’s participation in group activities, and Gernell’s offering insights to fellow Big Sisters during our Girls’ Leadership Project sessions. The support of Big Sister Boston staff, Comcast volunteers, and her fellow Big Sisters has inspired Gernell’s long-term ambitions. In a few years, Gernell sees herself in college, preparing for a career, and voting! For now, she is focused on her academic success and supporting her Little Sister through a positive mentoring relationship.

 


Life Choices

Life Choices is a group mentoring program that offers concepts in physical and emotional health and safety. Big Sister Association of Greater Boston (BSAGB) provides Life Choices to girls in their schools or neighborhood community centers. Teachers, social workers, counselors, principals, and youth workers refer girls to Life Choices. Participation is voluntary.

Our staff facilitate discussions and activities on a range of topics each session, including: values, choices and decision-making, healthy relationships, effective communication, career awareness, conflict resolution, bullying, internet safety, gender roles, diversity, media literacy and body image, stress, coping and self care, and puberty and sexual health. Sessions are customized based on the girls’ distinct challenges and involve encouraging dialogue about the choices that girls have to make, offering up considerations, and equipping girls with the knowledge to make healthy decisions. The program leverages girls' natural strengths and abilities to facilitate discussion and problem solving.

Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Females Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

 

We know we are successful facilitating Life Choices if we establish a safe and accepting environment from the beginning of each workshop series. Activities to achieve this goal include ice-breakers and the creation of group rules (as well as consequences for breaking them) through a collaborative process between the group members and group leader(s). This process allows the girls choices and power to control their own environment, while creating an atmosphere of safety and limits. Through our structured curriculum, we set objectives for each session based on the topic addressed. For example, in our Goals and Decision Making session, 80% or more of participants will identify a difficult situation that many girls experience, outline the possible choices available, and determine possible outcomes of each choice.

A recent Life Choices session that addressed media literacy and body image illustrates successful engagement with the subject matter through collaboration, critical thinking, and communication skills. The girls first did an activity where they analyzed different advertisements from current magazines. They had to decipher what the ad was selling, what kinds of messages it would send to girls, and who was missing from the ad, as well as speak about how the ads made them feel. Girls were able to think critically and recognize that these ads ingrained unrealistic expectations for girls who were exposed to them. They also remarked on how they have noticed that people portrayed in these ads and in social media do not look like them, most specifically when it came to their skin color. The girls were so engaged in a deep exploration of the messages they were getting from the media that they decided to create their own commercials. They wrote and performed one commercial that portrayed women and girls in a positive and empowering way, and one that reflected a more negative representation. One group designed a commercial for a college where girls can “be whatever they want to be.” Through these ads, the Life Choices group communicated that there is much more to girls and women than their appearance, and that their unique identities should be valued and celebrated.

Program Long-Term Success 

The primary goal of Life Choices is to promote healthy decision-making and other social-emotional skills. By making thoughtful informed choices, girls are empowered to control the direction of their lives. In the safe spaces this program creates, girls can openly share the choices and challenges they face as adolescents in an atmosphere of intimacy and mutual respect. Girls today face many difficult choices that often seem overwhelming. Life Choices allows girls to come together as a supportive community to explore these choices and prepare them to address issues that come up in their lives. Life Choices is designed to affirm the worth and dignity of the girls who participate, boosting self-esteem, social skills, decision-making confidence, ability to identify sources of help and information, and success in peer relationships.

Program Success Monitored By 

We define the short-term success of this multi-session workshop series through attendance as well as feedback obtained through post-program surveys. Steady attendance ensures that girls access the complete curriculum and build cohesion and trust with participants and facilitators. We are meeting our 80% retention rate goal because of our increased communication with site contacts around programmatic and scheduling needs. Survey feedback helps us assess what girls learn; how they will apply the information; and how we can tailor future sessions to meet their needs.

Examples of Program Success 

In Summer 2017 BSAGB provided Life Choices at the Paris Street Community Center in East Boston. The topic for one session was Healthy Friendships and Communication. In a role play activity focused on building active listening skills, girls were given instructions to act out not listening to a friend (ignoring, pretending to be on their cellphone, talking over their partner). In the follow-up discussion, girls commented that this exercise helped them understand the difference between hearing and listening. A few girls also opened up about personal experiences with bullying in school. Follow-up feedback from participants included, "I can speak up and be heard," and "I enjoyed being in girls' group because we can talk about a lot of things without being shy." These comments underscore the importance of creating safe spaces where girls feel comfortable discussing the challenges they experience as well as develop communication skills and strategies for building healthy relationships.


Site-Based Mentoring

Site-Based Mentoring (SBM) creates one-to-one mentoring relationships between trained women mentors and elementary school-aged girls in more than 30 public and independent schools as well as community centers in Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy. In 2001 we established SBM to address the geographic isolation of many of the girls we serve. Through this program, Big and Little Sisters meet for one hour, once a week at the Little Sisters’ school or after-school program, which is often more accessible by public transportation or located near a Big Sister’s employer. By reducing travel time, we make it easier for Big Sisters to be a consistent presence in a girl’s life, allowing them to build a trusting relationship.

Girls in SBM are referred by teachers and other school staff who observe the girls on a day-to-day basis, and consequently identify those who can benefit most from a caring mentor. Mentors and mentees spend one hour together every week throughout the duration of the academic year. During these visits, Big and Little Sisters read together, play games or work on school assignments, promoting positive and accepting relationships between the girls and their mentors. Teachers report that participating mentees demonstrate improvements in the classroom, including an increase in participation and improved grades as well as a better sense of the future.

Each site has a dedicated Enrollment and Match Support Specialist (EMSS) who serves as a liaison to school personnel, creates Sister matches, checks in regularly with Big and Little Sisters as well as Little Sisters’ families. During these check-ins the EMSS answers questions and provides guidance as well as coaching to help Big Sisters effectively address challenges Little Sisters may face. SBM relationships continue until the Little Sister graduates from 5th grade, at which time matches can transition to Community-Based Mentoring. By doing so they can continue to meet and participate in activities in the community as well as benefit from our match support, resources, and activities. This allows Big Sisters to remain a consistent presence in their Little Sisters’ lives and engage them in recreational activities, especially during the summer months.

We have expanded our impact through the development of innovative site-based models. For example, we partner with Boston College (BC) to transport Little Sisters who live in Dorchester’s Franklin Field Housing Development to meet with their Big Sisters, who are BC students. BC Big Sisters serve as trusted adults with whom Little Sisters can talk about their school and home lives. Strong relationships with female role models and exposure to a college campus have sparked Little Sisters’ interest in higher education. In January 2017, BSAGB launched a Workplace Mentoring program at the Boston-based advertising agency, Allen & Gerritsen (a&g). Twice a month, fourth-grade girls from Charlestown’s Harvard-Kent Elementary School meet with female employee mentors at a&g’s offices. During these visits, a dedicated BSAGB Coordinator provides on-site match support and facilitates activities that help Little Sisters connect with their Big Sisters as well as develop confidence and leadership skills. We are expanding this program in 2017; through a new partnership with Fidelity Investments, employee Big Sisters are mentors to seventh-graders at Boston Latin Academy. Workplace Mentoring Little Sisters are thriving through professionally-supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships with trained Big Sisters, as well as career exposure in a creative, professional work environment.

Budget  $921,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Mentoring
Population Served Females Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

 

We expect at least 75% of Little Sisters will report positive developmental outcomes in key developmental areas. We include maintenance of positive outcomes along with improvements in our overall measure, because they indicate that Little Sisters are developing resiliency against the risk factors they face in their environments. In 2016, Little Sisters in Site-Based Mentoring (SBM) maintained or improved positive outcomes in the following:

Social acceptance (increased confidence): 96%

Avoiding risky behaviors such as: using drugs and tobacco or skipping school: 91%

Educational expectations including graduating from high school, enrolling in college, and graduating from college: 86%

Scholastic competence (improved school performance): 94%

Our goal is to support a mentor and mentee relationship to last at least 12 months as research has proven that when a successful relationship spans that length of time, it has a lifelong positive impact on a mentee. We are proud to share that in 2016, the Sister relationships in SBM last an average of 21 months. This far exceeds the 12-month milestone that is crucial to a Little Sister’s success. The match support and curriculum-based activities that we provide to our Big and Little Sisters are the key factors in ensuring relationship length and strength to yield positive outcomes for participating girls.

 

Program Long-Term Success 

SBM promotes academic achievement among low- and middle-income students by supporting the social-emotional learning (SEL) of girls at a critical time in their development. Current research supports a link between skills associated with SEL, including managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships, and problem solving and academic success at all levels of education. For example, a recent study at Pennsylvania State and Duke Universities measured life outcomes over a 20-year period; it showed that high scores for sharing, cooperating, and helping others in childhood nearly always predicted whether a person graduated from high school on time and earned a college degree.

Schools are working to address SEL, but resources are limited. Programs at schools teach relationship development and foster a more collaborative, participatory classroom environment. While we see the value in these interventions, they do not provide students with a long-term, one-to-one relationship with a consistent, trained female mentor who is attuned to their individual needs, strengths, and challenges—someone who listens to them and provides encouragement.

We know from results of the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS) that mentees score favorably in outcome areas associated with social-emotional skills, including increased confidence and strong relationships. Big Sisters are fostering the healthy development of Little Sisters that will help them succeed.

Program Success Monitored By 

 

We collect and analyze program data using a proprietary database, the Agency Information Management system (AIM). In AIM, staff enters data for volunteers, girls, and the families we serve: client and volunteer referral sources, interview assessment details, demographic information, etc. Managers examine this information as well as client contact rates and adherence to customer service standards to inform best practices and decision-making.

BSAGB uses AIM to store all data collected from our evaluation tools. We use the Strength of Relationship survey (SOR), developed by researcher Jean Rhodes, PhD., Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Jean Grossman of Princeton University, and Carla Herrera of Public/Private Ventures, to measure Sisters’ satisfaction within the relationship and examine the relationship’s strength in measurable terms. The survey is given to both Sisters after the first three months of their initial meeting, then annually, to determine the need for additional support and guidance to ensure match longevity.

The Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS), developed by BBBSA and Professor Jean Rhodes, is a 32-question survey measuring youth-reported outcomes. Administered prior to the start of each mentoring “match,” and then at one-year intervals, the YOS asks questions related to the youth’s feelings about their personal expectations, behaviors, and academic performance.

Through these tools in conjunction with evaluation during ongoing match support, we are able to ensure that relationships stay strong, last a minimum of twelve months, and contribute to lifelong positive outcomes for Little Sisters.

 

Examples of Program Success 

When Big Sister Angelina and Little Sister Reina were matched at the King Open School in Cambridge four years ago, Angelina’s efforts to engage the third grader in conversation brought her short, generic responses. But after weeks of creating arts and crafts, reading together, and making lists of their favorite things, Little Sister Reina felt more at ease. “I opened up a lot more to her,” she said. “I trusted her because she kept coming back.” Reina’s teachers and parents noticed the confidence that Reina gained from her relationship with Angelina as well as positive changes in Reina’s social relationships. After Reina graduated from the King Open School, the match transitioned to our Community-Based Mentoring program. Angelina remains a consistent, reliable friend to Little Sister Reina, continuing to support her healthy development.

 


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Girls ages 7-15 need gender-sensitive, social-emotional support at this critical time in their child development. In January 2017, the journal Science reported that as early as age six, girls believe that boys are more likely than girls to be smart, and also begin avoiding activities that are commonly associated with high intellectual ability. As girls enter adolescence, their self-confidence declines. In “Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence,” the US Department of Education cites several reasons for this decline, including increased peer pressure and a shift in how girls view their own ability. Through our prevention-based, gender-sensitive programs, we focus on their strengths and our mentor's ability to (with professional training and support) help girls maintain high confidence, high expectations for their academic achievement, and hope for the future. These are some of the key developmental assets that children need in order to succeed.

We must start advocating for girls—and teaching them to advocate for themselves—in childhood. While there are a number of strategies that can be employed to achieve this outcome, we know that youth mentoring is top among them. Of the 2,700 girls, aged 7 – 20, served by Big Sister Association of Greater Boston in mentoring relationships last year, a staggering 95% reported improvements in their feelings of social acceptance—an indicator of confidence and healthy relationship-building. 92% of the girls served experienced improved educational expectations for themselves.

We hold firm the belief that all children can benefit from access to positive adult mentors, and we know that when girls’ unique needs are focused on, they thrive with the increased confidence needed for academic achievement, improved interpersonal relationships, and the ability to make healthy decisions that will aid them in reaching their individual goals. Now is the time to step up and to build an infrastructure of sisterhood that affirms for girls in the neighborhoods of Boston and beyond that they are more than enough.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Deborah Re
CEO Term Start Sept 2006
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

A lifelong resident of Boston, Deborah Re has more than 25 years of management, entrepreneurial, and organizational development experience. In her role, Deb leads the agency by improving organizational capacity, maintaining high program quality, and increasing visibility and fundraising. Before joining BSAGB as CEO in 2006, Deb worked for City Year Boston where she served as Executive Director. Prior to her management of City Year, Deb was President and Founder of Bridges to Business, a company that specialized in training and placing young adults with non-traditional backgrounds in the workforce. In addition, she has 16 years of experience in the private sector as Vice President of Administration for Keyport Life Insurance Company. As a testament to her commitment to the community, she received the 2001 LeadBoston Community award, the 2001 Heroes Among Us award from the Boston Celtics, the 2011 Changing People’s Lives award from Grand Circle Corporation, and the 2015 Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Award for Achievement in Management in the Nonprofit Sector. She serves on the Advisory Board for the West End House Boys and Girls Club and the Selection Advisory Council of the Greenlight Fund. In 2014, Deb was appointed to the City of Boston Women’s Commission, to advise Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and other City officials on issues impacting women and girls. Deb holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Ann Eggleston Vice President of Development

Joining BSAGB in Fall 2017, Ann Eggleston brings hands-on knowledge of all aspects of fundraising and external relations to her position of Vice President of Development. She has 30 years of experience in not-for-profit foundation, arts, and education management, most recently serving as Senior Director of Development and Partnerships at the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. In that position, she was the principal architect, building the foundation’s fundraising strategies and campaigns with an emphasis on major gifts, foundations, and corporate giving and sponsorships. Her previous positions include Director of Development at Oakwood School, Executive Director of Development at Classical KUSC 91.5 FM, and Associate Director of Development at Marlborough School; closer to home, she has worked for the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston and Harvard University Art Museums. Originally from southeastern Massachusetts, Ann holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University.

 

Ms. Alexis Harvey VP of Operations

Alexis Harvey began her employment with BSAGB in 2007 as the Associate Director of Development. She also served as Director of Development before being promoted to the position of Vice President of Human Resources and Administration in 2012. In this position, Alexis is responsible for employee relations, benefits, training, and technology support. Prior to joining BSAGB, Alexis was a Campaign Director with Lynch Development Associates (LDA). At LDA, Alexis counseled more than twenty non-profit organizations on capital campaign fundraising. She also helped to raise more than $20M for the improvement of churches, schools, and community centers, directed the marketing strategies for each campaign, organized community volunteers, and managed outreach efforts. Alexis graduated from Mount St. Mary’s College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and French.

Ms. Maren Juliano Vice President of Marketing

Maren Juliano joined BSAGB as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2006, and was later promoted to Director of Marketing & Communications. After roles at Massachusetts General Hospital and Alphabetica, Maren returned to BSAGB in 2015 to spearhead the organization’s marketing efforts as Vice President of Marketing. At BSAGB, Maren develops the brand strategy, publication content, visual design, and online marketing. Though she began her career as a media planner/buyer at advertising agencies in Virginia and Boston, at the heart of her work is a passion for BSAGB’s gender-specific mission and a desire to educate and inspire volunteers, funders, and partners. Maren holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Anthropology from Bucknell University and a Master’s degree in Advertising from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.

Ms. Mia Roberts Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Mia Roberts joined Big Sister in May 2002 as our Chief Operating Officer. She served in this position until 2012, when she became the VP of Recruitment and Community Partnerships, a newly created position. Prior to joining Big Sister, Mia served as Director of Development for the Efficacy Institute, a not-for-profit Massachusetts-based organization committed to developing all children to high standards, especially children of color and the economically disadvantaged.  She also held the position of Regional Compensation and Performance Administrator for 7,000 employees in 20 locations at the Dayton-Hudson Department Store Company. Mia graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.

Ms. Heidi Ziobro Vice President of Programs & Recruitment

Heidi Ziobro joined Big Sister in 2010 as the VP of Programs. She graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and earned her Master of Science degree in Psychology from American International College. She is also a licensed social worker.  She began her career as a program manager for Lifeworks, Inc., located in Westwood, MA, helping to provide homes, jobs, and supportive living to adults with developmental disabilities.  She then worked at Vinfen Corporation, based in Boston, as a program director for six years. At Vinfen, Heidi worked with adults who have psychiatric disabilities and assisted them with their rehabilitation goals. As a former Big Sister, Heidi experienced the direct positive impact that a professionally supported mentoring relationship can have on both the Big and Little Sister. She was drawn to the opportunity to work for Big Sister Association in a role that would allow her to grow and expand programs to serve more girls and women throughout our city.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Agency of the Year Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Nationwide Leadership Council 2015
Gold Standard Award Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Nationwide Leadership Council 2015
Pinnacle Award for Achievement in Management in the Non-Profit Sector (D. Re) Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce 2015
Quality Award Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Nationwide Leadership Council 2014
Be the Change Massachusetts Conference for Women 2011
Changing People's Lives (Deborah Re) Grand Circle Foundation 2011
Excellence in Management Massachusetts Nonprofit Network 2009
Partner Member Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

Our relationships with public and private organizations help us connect girls who would benefit from mentoring relationships with women who are committed to their success. Boston Housing Authority, Boston Police Department (BPD), and the Boston Public Health Commission help us identify girls to enroll in our programs. We also partner with numerous community centers, public, private, and charter schools to provide Site-Based Mentoring. Strong partnerships with five public housing developments enable us to create mentoring relationships for girls as well as increase engagement through participating and cohosting events with residents and housing development staff. Partners that help us recruit mentors include Urban Edge in Roxbury, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Dana Farber, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and numerous colleges including Boston College and Lesley University. Partners that enable us deepen and expand our enrichment programs include Girls’ Leap, Massachusetts Women’s Caucus, Teens in Print, Microsoft, and Sportmen’s. We will connect more girls with scholarships to attend summer camps, including Dana Hall Girls Summer Leadership Program, West End House Girls Camp, and Girl Rock Campaign Boston.

 

 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

BSAGB takes a holistic approach to our work and continues to evaluate the manner in which we serve our girls to meet their evolving needs. Cultural competency, diversity, equity and inclusion are an ongoing priority of our organization as we foster impactful relationships among people who may come from different racial/ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds. Program staff whose background and experiences are similar to those of the girls we serve can help us better communicate with families and provide insight and guidance to their support of mentoring relationships. In 2015, 19% of our staff were professionals of color; today, 42% of our staff identify as people of color and women of color made up 34% of our volunteers. We continue to focus our efforts on recruiting more professionals of color and individuals with proficiency in multiple languages.

Relatedly, BSAGB has developed curriculum for our staff and Big Sisters to better address cultural responsiveness as well as how to support Big and Little Sisters’ relationships across differences. The training gives Big Sisters a more thorough understanding of the history of Boston’s diverse neighborhoods and the impact of school desegregation; evaluate how one’s own assumptions can lead to judgments about a Little Sister’s circumstances and family; and identify how celebrating all aspects of a Little Sister’s identity can foster positive, healthy development. This evolved training has expanded our capacity to better serve the communities of Greater Boston.

Our 26-member Board of Directors, which is 69% women, shares our commitment to cultural responsiveness and building connections to the communities we serve; however, our current Board includes 15% people of color. We are committed to diversifying our Board to bring more voices that reflect our constituents to the table. We are working with The Partnership, Inc., a prominent leadership development organization for executives of color, which identifies and refers potential Board members. We have brought on two Big Sisters as Board members who first served on our Diversity Council. A Diversity Council member also attends each meeting, bringing new perspectives to the table.

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 47
Number of Part Time Staff 7
Number of Volunteers 2,462
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 65%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 7
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 33
Hispanic/Latino: 10
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 3
Other (if specified): Multi-Racial
Gender Female: 54
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Ms. Deborah Daccord
Board Chair Company Affiliation Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
Board Chair Term May 2016 - May 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Maxwell Bardeen UBS Financial Voting
Mr. Thomas L. Barrette Jr. The Shareholder Resolution Trust Voting
Mr. David Bruce Highland Street Foundation Voting
Ms. Terri Z. Campbell Liberty Mutual Insurance Voting
Ms. Carolyn Clancy Fidelity Investments Voting
Ms. Denise Coll Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Carey Cort Webb Innovation Center for Dyslexia Voting
Ms. Deborah Daccord Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C. Voting
Ms. Jane Deery PGR Media Voting
Dr. Wing Delatorre M.D. Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Patrice DeVoe Tufts Health Plan Voting
Ms Nancy Tao Go Devoted Health Voting
Mr. David Gow Ernst & Young LLP Voting
Mr. Andrew Graff Allen & Gerritsen Voting
Mrs. Lisa Hughes WBZ-TV Voting
Mrs. Aileen Keaney Audax Group Voting
Ms. Christina Lewis Hinckley Allen Voting
Ms. Brenda Lyons State Street Corporation Voting
Mrs. Sharon McNally The Connors Family Office Voting
Mr. Juan Carlos Morales Surfside Capital Advisors Voting
Mr. Timothy J. O'Brien Retired Voting
Mr. Joseph T. Realmuto Jr. PricewaterhouseCoopers Voting
Ms. Eneida Roman-Olivieri Attorney Voting
Ms. Karen Voci Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Voting
Ms. Debra Williams Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Voting
Ms. Mariann Youniss Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. John Yozell Yozell Associates Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Joe Arquillo Boston College NonVoting
Mr. Andrew Brewster Audax Group NonVoting
Ms. Jackie Bright Houghton Mifflin Harcourt NonVoting
Mr. Samuel Chambers City of Boston NonVoting
Ms. Megan Cooney Morgan Stanley NonVoting
Ms. Christina Ferraiolo Massachusetts General Hospital NonVoting
Ms. Christina Fish O'Neill and Associates NonVoting
Ms. Genevieve Gilroy MFS Investment Management NonVoting
Ms. Caitlin Glynn Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster NonVoting
Mr. Sam Howe MSLGROUP NonVoting
Ms. Lauren Jackson Deloitte NonVoting
Ms. Joanna Kreisel UP Education Network NonVoting
Ms. Nadine LeBranti John Hancock Financial NonVoting
Mr. Derek Losi Cresa Boston NonVoting
Ms. Lily Lynch United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley NonVoting
Mr. Alex Martin Eaton Vance Management NonVoting
Ms. Claire Monagan Lippincott NonVoting
Mr. Chris Nabhan Eaton Vance Management NonVoting
Ms. Carrie O'Laughlin Dimagi NonVoting
Mr. Joe Papa Yozell Associates NonVoting
Ms. Violet Rukambeiya State Street Corporation NonVoting
Ms. Courtney Scott Choate, Hall & Steward LLP NonVoting
Ms. Amy Sennett Catalant Technologies NonVoting
Ms. Jen Smith United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley NonVoting
Ms. Emily Trautwein Big Sister Association of Greater Boston NonVoting
Ms. Nikki White uApsire NonVoting
Ms. Jessica Young Vistaprint NonVoting

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Jack Agnew Agnew Carter MS&L NonVoting
Ms. Jane Alpers Denneen & Company NonVoting
Ms. Denise Jefferson Casper United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts NonVoting
Ms. Susan B. Connolly Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Christine Creelman Consultant NonVoting
Ms. Susan M. Esper Deloitte NonVoting
Ms. Suzanne Fay Glynn Glynn Law Offices NonVoting
Ms. Sue Hoffman Community Volunteer NonVoting
Janet Humdy Morrison Novations, Inc. NonVoting
Ms. Sabrina Hundley Nicholson Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Renee Landers Suffolk University Law School NonVoting
Ms. Carol McKean Carol McKean Events NonVoting
Ms. Dolores Mitchell Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Margot Phelps Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Lisa Scannell Isaacson, Miller NonVoting
Ms. Jacqueline Sonnabend Sonesta International Hotels NonVoting
Ms. Beth Terrana Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Pat Tietbohl Accounting Management Solutions NonVoting
Ms. Marie Turley Suffolk County Sheriff's Department NonVoting
Ms. Liz Walker Liz Walker Journey Productions NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 22
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): Multi-racial
Gender Female: 19
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 96%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 22%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Audit
  • Audit, Compliance and Controls
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Governance and Nominating
  • Investment
  • Marketing
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

I believe that our single biggest challenge is funding, since our revenue directly correlates to the number of girls Big Sister Boston is able to serve. As a girl-serving organization –we are the only girls-only organization in the entire Big Brothers Big Sisters national federation – funding opportunities are limited in favor of coed organizations. In fact, only 7% of philanthropic dollars in the United States support girl-serving organizations. But we see this challenge as an opportunity, one that extends beyond just the girls we serve in Greater Boston.

Big Sister Boston is a thought leader on positive, adult-youth mentoring relationships with a focus on girls’ unique developmental needs. As a result, we regularly share our expertise on girls and mentoring with other gender-specific and coed organizations. We offer enrichment programs to our Big and Little Sister matches on a regular basis, including workshops on goal-setting, sexual health and puberty, and activities that provide exposure to college and career options, STEM, and community service, among other programs. In addition, we are developing a program and the skills infrastructure to expand our services and support to girls through age 24 in order to provide coaching for post-high school success.

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $3,606,368 $3,595,223 $3,181,255
Total Expenses $3,507,016 $3,496,807 $3,016,531

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $278,700 $4,000 $16,131
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $278,700 $4,000 $16,131
Individual Contributions $1,348,753 $1,555,387 $1,222,370
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $62,890 $326,882 $128,965
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $1,436,358 $1,169,786 $1,235,028
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $479,667 $539,168 $578,761

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $2,663,621 $2,623,023 $2,233,195
Administration Expense $227,129 $268,523 $292,049
Fundraising Expense $616,266 $605,261 $491,287
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.03 1.03 1.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses 76% 75% 74%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 20% 22% 20%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $4,481,759 $4,266,691 $4,511,821
Current Assets $1,471,612 $1,243,624 $1,064,695
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $192,193 $223,613 $190,778
Total Net Assets $4,289,566 $4,043,078 $4,321,043

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $900,000.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 5.0%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 6.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Anticipated In 3 Years
Capital Campaign Purpose We are currently looking to undergo a campaign feasibility study with the future prospect of a fundraising campaign.
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 7.66 5.56 5.58

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We are among 12 BBBSA agencies that in recent years has grown revenue and girls served in one-to-one mentoring (by more than 30% since 2010). We are proud of our ability to demonstrate fiscal responsibility during a time of transition that included relocating to a new office in July 2015 and adding staff positions to support our growth. Additionally, we have met our fundraising goals the past four fiscal years and maintain fiscal health with short and long-term investments as well as six months in cash reserves. Given our surplus in 2016, the Board voted to approve a 2017 organizational budget that includes a modest deficit to hire staff proactively based on historical trends in turnover, to assure that we maintain our commitment to enrolling and matching girls in our program.

We will continue to rely on partnerships with a diverse portfolio of funders that sustain the growth and enhancement of our mentoring programs. Our strategic development plan is to raise revenue through events, secure multi-year grants from new and current foundations, explore national and government funding opportunities, and increase funding from individuals through a women’s leadership collaborative, major gifts effort, and additional outreach to new and existing donors.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

The objective of Big Sister Association of Greater Boston (BSAGB) is to create and sustain transformative mentoring relationships and provide enrichment services that result in lifelong, positive outcomes. These outcomes include: setting and working toward educational goals by improving grades, graduating from high school, and attending college; avoiding risky behaviors such as using drugs and skipping school; and improving self-confidence. We measure these outcomes through the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS, used nationally by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America affiliates) as well as monitor the progress of Little Sisters and their relationships with caring, trained women mentors through consistent match support. Our program design is derived from established, research-based practices. Our goal is to support a Big and Little Sister relationship to last at least 12 months as research has proven that when a successful relationship spans that length of time, it has a lifelong positive impact on a Little Sister.

We serve girls ages 7-20 throughout Greater Boston. Seventy-one percent of those girls live in the city of Boston, with more than half from the high-need neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. The girls we serve face numerous obstacles to their educational attainment and social-emotional well-being: 90% are from low income household; 72% live with a single parent or guardian; 57% have suffered significant loss in their life, including the death or incarceration of a parent/guardian; and 49% have experienced intervention in the household by the Department of Children and Families. Our programing addresses a lack of access to long-term, developmental relationships with caring adults, which evidence has shown to mitigate negative long-term impacts of the risk factors that Little Sisters face. According to the Search Institute, “Students who experience developmental relationships: get better grades; have higher aspirations for the future; and participate in college-preparatory activities more frequently.” A Big Sister, trained and supported by our professional staff, provides that developmental relationship.

Robert Putnam’s 2014 research on growing economic disparities showed that affluent families spend nine times more than poor families on enrichment services for children, proven to increase GPA, lower dropout rates, improve work habits, and build psychological resilience. Furthermore, affluent youth often get “more and better informal mentoring” than their low income peers. While mentoring is not a new initiative, our gender-sensitive approach is unique, and reaches girls who have limited contact with mentors. We have developed intentional enrichment programs that address girls’ developmental needs and connect Sisters to community resources. Through conversations and follow-up activities they pursue one-on-one, a Big Sister reinforces the ideas, concepts, and healthy behaviors from these experiences to help boost her Little Sister’s confidence to try new things, take risks, and build the leadership skills that will help her strengthen her community.

We have deepened opportunities for teen Little Sisters to enhance their leadership development and connect them to knowledge about career options. Nevertheless, Little Sisters, including many who are the first in their families to attend college or pursue their chosen career path, need more support. We are developing programming and seeking resources to increase our capacity and evolve our theory of change to support girls through young adulthood. During this critical time of growth and change, we will foster their development into financially stable, engaged citizens.


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

The objective of Big Sister Association of Greater Boston (BSAGB) is to create and sustain transformative mentoring relationships and provide enrichment services that result in lifelong, positive outcomes. These outcomes include: setting and working toward educational goals by improving grades, graduating from high school, and attending college; avoiding risky behaviors such as using drugs and skipping school; and improving self-confidence. We measure these outcomes through the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS, used nationally by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America affiliates) as well as monitor the progress of Little Sisters and their relationships with caring, trained women mentors through consistent match support. Our program design is derived from established, research-based practices. Our goal is to support a Big and Little Sister relationship to last at least 12 months as research has proven that when a successful relationship spans that length of time, it has a lifelong positive impact on a Little Sister.

We serve girls ages 7-20 throughout Greater Boston. Seventy-one percent of those girls live in the city of Boston, with more than half from the high-need neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. The girls we serve face numerous obstacles to their educational attainment and social-emotional well-being: 90% are from low income household; 72% live with a single parent or guardian; 57% have suffered significant loss in their life, including the death or incarceration of a parent/guardian; and 49% have experienced intervention in the household by the Department of Children and Families. Our programing addresses a lack of access to long-term, developmental relationships with caring adults, which evidence has shown to mitigate negative long-term impacts of the risk factors that Little Sisters face. According to the Search Institute, “Students who experience developmental relationships: get better grades; have higher aspirations for the future; and participate in college-preparatory activities more frequently.” A Big Sister, trained and supported by our professional staff, provides that developmental relationship.

Robert Putnam’s 2014 research on growing economic disparities showed that affluent families spend nine times more than poor families on enrichment services for children, proven to increase GPA, lower dropout rates, improve work habits, and build psychological resilience. Furthermore, affluent youth often get “more and better informal mentoring” than their low income peers. While mentoring is not a new initiative, our gender-sensitive approach is unique, and reaches girls who have limited contact with mentors. We have developed intentional enrichment programs that address girls’ developmental needs and connect Sisters to community resources. Through conversations and follow-up activities they pursue one-on-one, a Big Sister reinforces the ideas, concepts, and healthy behaviors from these experiences to help boost her Little Sister’s confidence to try new things, take risks, and build the leadership skills that will help her strengthen her community.

We have deepened opportunities for teen Little Sisters to enhance their leadership development and connect them to knowledge about career options. Nevertheless, Little Sisters, including many who are the first in their families to attend college or pursue their chosen career path, need more support. We are developing programming and seeking resources to increase our capacity and evolve our theory of change to support girls through young adulthood. During this critical time of growth and change, we will foster their development into financially stable, engaged citizens.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

BSAGB has the infrastructure, skills, and experience to fulfill the unmet needs for girls by matching them with trained women mentors in the community. BSAGB was named by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) as the 2015 National Agency of the Year for our best practices, program excellence, and fiscal responsibility. We empower our volunteers to be a vehicle through which we develop healthy, productive girls. In 2016, 2,462 women reflecting a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and life experiences served as Big Sisters through our mentoring programs.

We have a dynamic Board of Directors consisting of 18 women and 10 men. The Board meets five times a year to set policies, assist in fundraising, guide strategic direction, oversee fiscal responsibilities, and solicit support from the Greater Boston community. BSAGB has a staff of 52.5 FTEs. As Chief Executive Officer since 2006, Deborah Re applies a myriad of experiences in both the private and non-profit sectors to her leadership role. She is also an appointed member of the City of Boston’s Women’s Commission, which advises Mayor Martin Walsh on issues pertaining to women and girls. Our six senior managers include Vice President of Programs and Recruitment, Heidi Ziobro, LSW, a former Big Sister herself, who joined BSAGB in 2011 and oversees all of our mentoring programs. The remainder of our program staff is in direct service to the mentors, children, and families we serve, and are responsible for recruiting, enrolling, training, and supporting Big Sisters so that they have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to be effective mentors.

We leverage our reputation in high-need communities to bring resources and opportunities to girls. Our partnerships with Boston Housing Authority, Boston Police Department (BPD), and the Boston Public Health Commission help us identify girls to enroll in our programs. We also partner with more than 100 area colleges and businesses to recruit mentors to serve as Big Sisters. Throughout Greater Boston, numerous community centers, public, private, and charter schools host our Site-Based Mentoring programs. We also partner with six public housing developments to create one-to-one mentoring relationships for girls as well as increasing engagement through participating and cohosting events with residents and housing development staff within their community. By collaborating with numerous partners we also provide enrichment programs, which address five pillars: Arts, Career & Education, Civic Engagement, Health & Fitness, and STEM. Finally, we partner with researchers and experts, including Renee Spencer from Boston University School of Social Work and Jean Rhodes from the Donahue Institute at UMass/Boston, to further our knowledge and improve practice in the field of mentoring. This research has linked positive outcomes to our gender-specific approach.

 

BSAGB sustains our 60+ year presence through a diverse portfolio of funders, including private foundations, corporations, individuals, and our revenue-generating Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, which collects and sells donated items. This support helped us exceed our 2016 revenue goal. Our strategic development plan is to raise revenue through events, secure multi-year grants from new and current foundations, explore national and government funding opportunities, and increase funding from individuals through a women’s leadership collaborative, major gifts effort, and additional outreach to new and existing donors. We are proud to have demonstrated fiscal responsibility during a time of transition that included relocating to a new office in July 2015 and adding staff positions to support our growth.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We assess the effectiveness of our mentoring programs by measuring average match length, participant retention rates, and analyzing results from research-based evaluation tools. We collect and analyze data using a proprietary database, the Agency Information Management system (AIM). We use AIM to enroll, match, provide match support, and manage workflow. Our management team, on a weekly basis, reviews data as it relates to: number of new applications, percent of applicants that progress to interviews and training, number of new relationships created, and length of relationships. We compare these figures to prior years and results across the BBBSA network. We look for changes in trends, investigate any concerns, and identify areas for improvement. Managers evaluate calls our staff make to girls, their caregivers, and mentors, to ensure quality customer service. They provide feedback on staff performance, coaching them on cultural sensitivity, building rapport, and survey administration.

Our goal is to support matches to reach the 12-month milestone, as research shows that mentoring relationships lasting at least 12 months have a lifelong positive impact on girls. We are proud to share that our average match length in CBM is 33 months and in SBM it is 21 months. David DuBois’ 2011 analysis proved that effects on youth outcomes were progressively greater as relationships persisted for longer periods of time. The match support and enrichment services that we provide to our Big and Little Sisters are the key factors in ensuring relationship length and strength to yield positive outcomes for participating girls.

We use the Strength of Relationship survey (SOR) to gauge the health of a mentoring relationship in measurable terms. We administer the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS) to measure the following key developmental outcomes of program participants. Both surveys were developed by Jean Rhodes, Jean Grossman, and Carla Herrera of Public/Private Ventures in collaboration with BBBSA. Self-reported changes from youth are proven to provide insight into their short-term and long-term developmental changes. A child’s response to specific survey questions informs our staff about what is going well, and what areas need strengthening. Regular review of individual and collective survey responses spurs continuous improvement in the services we provide.

When Little Sisters take the YOS for the first time, we record a baseline score, then administer follow-up assessments after three months, then annually. YOS data that reflects Little Sisters’ positive or improved attitudes toward their educational expectations and self-assessment of their scholastic competence demonstrate resilience against the risk factors in their environments and a conviction to achieve academic success. The data also shows maintenance of positive achievement or improvement in their ability to avoid skipping school and other negative behaviors that could derail their academic trajectory. Positive outcomes in social acceptance is a demonstration of self-confidence, which builds resiliency that empowers them to pursue the educational and career paths of their choosing.

According to best practices throughout our national BBBSA affiliation, we set the goal at a minimum of 75% for impact achievement. However, our Little Sisters score above that benchmark and we expect these results to continue. David DuBois’s 2011 analysis of 73 evaluations of mentoring programs revealed that for mentored youth, the most common pattern of benefits is demonstrated by positive gains on outcome measures, while non-mentored youth with similar risk factors exhibit declines. According to 2016 YOS data at least 86% of Little Sisters reported positive outcomes in the areas mentioned above. These scores demonstrate that the support and encouragement of a Big Sister are contributing to our Little Sisters’ resiliency and self-confidence.


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

 

With more than 60 years of service and innovation, BSAGB is recognized both locally and nationally as one of the most successful mentoring organizations, serving more girls than most BBBS agencies serve children. A 2009 study by Renée Spencer and Belle Liang of Boston University demonstrated that Big Sisters contribute to the healthy development of Little Sisters, by providing emotional support as well as fostering their development of new skills and confidence by participating together in activities including our enrichment programs. From college preparation to STEM enrichment, these programs connect Sisters to community resources where historically, many of the girls we serve have lacked equitable access. Little Sisters try activities they may have previously thought they were incapable of doing, further boosting their confidence to take healthy risks and pursue goals. Youth Outcomes Survey data from 2016 reflect how our programs foster in girls the passion and power to succeed as well as self-confidence and the ability make healthy decisions: 86% of our mentees report high educational expectations, including finishing high school and attending college; 91% are better able to avoid risky behaviors; and 95% report positive social acceptance, an indicator of increased confidence.

Mentoring helps Little Sisters develop social-emotional skills; as they grow, their needs become more complex and closely tied to academic achievement and financial stability. To address them, we will leverage our position in the community to connect mentees and families to resources that are beyond their reach. Our Big Futures and Workplace Mentoring are two of the new opportunities we will offer our participants. These programs share a common goal of introducing girls to future prospects that they may have previously considered unattainable. They complement our mentoring services, connecting girls to community assets, career coaches, and other resources that all young adults need to succeed.

Additionally, Workplace Mentoring is a fee-for-service model funded by the corporation providing mentors, helping make this innovative program sustainable. Through partnerships with schools, BSAGB matches Little Sisters with mentors who expose them to a positive work environment and engage them in conversations that explore their interests fueling long-term aspirations for learning and future careers.

Through enrichment services and case management, Our Big Futures will give Greater Boston’s girls facing adversity the support they need for educational achievement and steady employment. Whether it be a college degree, job training/certification, or military service, customized support over the long-term will enable girls to access the opportunities provided by community resources and achieve financial stability. We want girls living in Greater Boston to enter the competitive workforce and maintain a standard of living that provides family security exceeding what generations before them have achieved.

We know from our successful track record of launching and sustaining new programs such as Life Choices group mentoring since 1999 and High School Mentoring Academy, now in its eleventh year, we will need critical investments and capacity building to develop Our Big Futures. We cannot succeed without increased collaborations with public, private, and non-profit partners, to connect girls with knowledge, strategies, and tools to help them achieve their goals. Additionally, through this innovative program we will develop more robust systems for collecting and tracking outcome data as well as implement a long-term longitudinal study of the outcomes of mentees who participate.