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Posted: August 27, 2017

The social return on investing in mentorship

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook (BBBS) has been providing mentoring programming in Cranbrook for 40 years and has plenty to celebrate given some of the research and statistics supporting the benefits of mentoring programs.

Mentorship is a form of support where the mentor functions as a role model providing guidance and friendship to the mentee. Based on research and statistics, mentorship has the capability of reducing poverty and can improve other indicators of social well-being.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and The Boston Consulting Group released a study that measures the return on investing in mentorship. The study compares outcomes of children who went through community one-to-one programs with those who did not. The data collection process involved 500 responses from former participants in BBBS programs and a control group of 1,000. The data collection process involved stakeholder interviews, surveys of BBBS alumni, and surveys of the control group. Researchers conducted differential and attribution analysis to derive the causal benefit of the program.

The study found mentoring programs provided significant economic value creation across multiple levers: employment, philanthropy, life skills, and general wellbeing. The study found that there were was evidence of a higher lifetime income, and a higher rate of full-time employment of BBBS Alumni and that Alumni were more likely to give generously to charitable causes.

The qualitative impacts based on survey results revealed that participants benefited from having a mentor because they had increased life skills, and were more likely to graduate from post-secondary education, more likely to be financially literate, and more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Overall there was an $18 return per $1 invested in Big Brothers Big Sisters. Furthermore, for the least economically advantaged group there was a $23 return for every dollar invested in mentorship.

These findings are important when thinking about how to reduce poverty in your community.

Poverty means you are getting by, you are surviving, but you are not thriving. Poverty is not something we choose for ourselves, and it is certainly not what we choose for our children or anyone we care about. One way to help future generations break through poverty and reach their full potential is through providing extra resources to our children and youth. Mentorship is not a quick cure-all solution but can be seen as an effective preventative tool.

If we equip our children and youth with skills and supports the possibilities are endless of what they can achieve. By supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook you are starting something BIG and investing in your community one mentor at a time.

At this time the Government of Canada is developing a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy to reduce poverty and improve the well-being of all Canadian families so that everyone can have a fair chance to succeed. According to the Government of Canada website, poverty affects more than three million Canadians.

That means that 1.9 million families struggle to meet their basic needs. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook is a member agency of the United Way and Social Planning Society which both aim at making Cranbrook a better place to live for all. One of the initiatives of the United Way and Social Planning Society is the Cranbrook Poverty Reduction Committee.

Learn more about the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy

If you would like to join the conversation on the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy, please consider getting involved with the Social Planning Society of Cranbrook, Cranbrook Poverty Reduction Committee by contacting United Way East Kootenay 250-426-8833.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook currently has children on the waiting list to receive a mentor. If you would like to make a positive difference in a young person’s life, please call Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook at 250-489-3111.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook

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