Our Work

About Big Brother Big Sister


Big Brothers Big Sisters is an internationally recognised youth mentoring programme that forms supportive friendships for young people inspiring them to brighter futures. Big Brothers Big Sisters nationally and internationally is proven through research to improve young people’s wellbeing, improve their social support and relationships with others. BBBS is operated in Ireland by Foróige.

Big Brothers Big Sisters International was founded in 1998 with the aim of promoting and supporting the development of mentoring programmes operating independently in various countries throughout the world. Big Brothers Big Sisters International sets standards and shares best practices for effective and sustainable implementation. Big Brothers Big Sisters International International approves programmes for the use of the logo and maintains active membership of them. Affiliate associations are currently working in 13 countries, one of which is Big Brothers Big Sisters Ireland. 

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway have carried out a Randomised Controlled Trial on the BBBS programme on behalf of Foróige. The findings are below.

Summary of key findings

• Young people with a mentor were more hopeful and had a greater sense of efficacy in relation to the future than those without a mentor
• Young people with a mentor felt better supported overall than those without a mentor
• Parents of mentored youth rated their pro-social behaviour more positively than did parents of non-mentored youth
• There were positive trends in relation to social acceptance, school liking, plans for school and college completion, and reduced drug and alcohol use.

Further analyses showed

• Promising findings in relation to education for young people matched with a mentor.
• Promising findings in relation to perceived sibling support for young people matched with a mentor.
• Matches that meet regularly and last for a minimum of 12 months have stronger outcomes.
• The BBBS programme is particularly effective for young people from one-parent families.

Report 1: Randomised Controlled Trial and Implementation Report
Report 2: Qualitative Evidence
Report 3: Summary Report
Report 4: School Based Mentoring Programme Evaluation