TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/15/13 -- Editors Note: There is a video associated with this press release.
Canada's largest mentoring organization is turning 100 and is celebrating with a year-long public education campaign to give Canadians fresh insights into the societal value of youth mentoring.
To mark the launch of this national effort, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) are releasing the first results of one of the largest mentoring studies ever conducted.
The five-year study, which tracks the experiences of almost 1,000 children and teenagers registered with Big Brother Big Sisters agencies across Canada, found that those with a mentor are significantly more confident in their academic abilities and considerably less likely to display behavioural problems.
One stand out finding is that girls in the study with a Big Sister were four times less likely to bully, fight, lie or express anger than girls without a mentor.
"This ground-breaking research confirms that mentoring changes the trajectory of young lives," says Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC). "The findings will have a profoundly beneficial impact on our mentoring programs."
The study's findings are expected to bring about significant advances in how the agencies of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) deliver mentoring services. Expected outcomes are more specialized pre-match training for the child, parents and mentor; more effective match support for all three participants to better manage expectations and earlier detection of special needs among children and teenagers.
BBBSC believes that this landmark study's legacy will be longer and more successful matches and mentoring that is more closely tailored to individual needs.
The study was conducted by a team of academics led by Dr. David DeWit, a senior research scientist CAMH in London, Ontario, and Dr. Ellen Lipman, a psychiatrist and Professor at McMaster University in Hamilton. The research was made possible by a $1.7 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
"We showed that the positive findings held regardless of the children's age, personal history, family circumstances or cultural identity," explained DeWit. "Over time, Big Brother Big Sisters agencies will be able to counsel mentors on how best to engage with their 'Little' and will make it easier to identify the children most likely to benefit from having a mentor."
-- Girls with a Big Sister are two and a half times more likely than girls without a mentor to be confident in their ability to be successful at school.-- Boys with a Big Brother are three times less likely than boys without a mentor to suffer peer pressure related anxiety, such as worrying about what other children think or say about them.-- Mentored boys are two times more likely to believe that school is fun and that doing well academically is important.-- Mentored boys are also two times less likely than non-mentored boys to develop negative conducts like bullying, fighting, lying, cheating, losing their temper or expressing anger.