Big Brother
Big Sister


The concept behind Foroige’s Big Brother Big Sister programme is simple but the results are incredible. A young person is matched with an adult volunteer based on shared interests. The young person may have previously felt isolated in some way and needed a little bit of extra support. Big Brother Big Sister is getting BIGGER. In 2010 1,622 young people were matched with an adult volunteer. In 2011 that figure had risen to 2,324 – that’s an increase of 702 in just one year.

The Big Brother Big Sister programme has been independently assessed and it passed with flying colours. A study by NUI Galway concluded that the programme, which has its origins in the U.S, is very well run in Ireland and is…

‘an extremely valuable, low-cost intervention for young people who need support.’

No man is an island and if anything could fully embody this spirit of friendship, mentoring and sharing it would be Foróige’s Big Brother Big Sister programme. Volunteers display the ultimate in generosity – that of giving time. A young person in need of a positive role model gets that and so much more! A parent sees their child flourish in a way they never previously thought possible. In 2011 young people were matched with adult volunteers in Dublin, Westmeath, Galway, Cork, Roscommon, Offaly, Mayo, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Sligo and Kilkenny.

The Start of
Something Big

29-year-old mature student Annette Kennedy and 13-year-old Foróige member Jessica Phelan began their Big Sister Little Sister partnership eight months ago in west Dublin. They share an interest in baking, shopping, going to the cinema and they even workout at the gym together. Jessica explains,

“ Annette is lot of fun to be around. At first it was a little weird being around someone I didn’t know but now we have great craic. Annette is now one of my best friends and I always look forward to seeing her.”

Annette has noticed some really positive changes,

“ Jessica has gained a lot of confidence which allows her to see that she is a great person to be around. She is quiet by nature but now Jessica is emerging from her shell. Her father died when she was just 18 months old and when we first met, Jessica hadn't read a full book. Now she reads all the time and we chat about what we've read. From a personal point of view meeting Jessica has been an invaluable experience for me because I am currently training to become a teacher. I am now much better prepared for the profession.”

Jessica’s mom Yvonne says that Big Brother Big Sister has lifted a huge weight off her shoulders.

“ Jessica holds everything back and she won’t open up at home because she’s afraid of upsetting me. It’s a huge relief that she now has someone to talk to because she actually does confide in Annette. Her confidence has sky-rocketed and that really is thanks to Big Brother Big Sister.”

2010 - 1,622 young people