Sample Sociology Paper on The Group Big Brothers Big Sisters
- The Organization
Mentoring relationships is one of the practices that contributes significantly in promoting good behaviors, as well as academic outcomes among children and youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-governmental organization that assists children to realize their potential through mentoring, which is essential for building their future. The organization began its operations in 1904 when Ernest Coulter, a court clerk from New York City, opted to find volunteers who would assist young boys to stay out of trouble (“114 Years of History” n.p). Another group of women called the Ladies of Charity had just formed, and supported girls who had been arraigned before the New York Children’s Court. The group later changed its name to the Catholic Big Sisters. The two groups worked independently until 1977, when they collaborated to form the group of the Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The organization’s mission is “Provide children facing adversity, with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for better, forever” (“114 Years of History” n.p). The organization is concerned with building trustful and enduring relationships, which could inspire young people and provide them with emotional support. The organization is also conscious that such relationships have the capability to transform the lives of the children facing adversity. Thus, the organization’s mission is to inspire the donors, teachers, employees, board members, partners, and friends, to make the downtrodden children succeedin life. Each group can play a significant role in living up to the agency’s expectations.
Child safety has been the highest priority for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Hence, nurturing the children and supporting their communities to live a rewarding life is the essence of the organization’s activities. As a community-based organization that has been in operation for more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has remained committed to its founders’ mission of introducing caring role models to the children. The organization endeavours that each volunteer adult is linked-up matched with an at-risk child or an adolescent, to instil a positive attitude in the children which could help them for improving their academic performance and family relationships.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is administered by an Executive Team and a Board of Directors, who try to ensure that the children come up to their expectations through professional mentoring. The organization tries to ensure that all categories of children are admitted by the Board of Directors, regardless of age or gender. Incidentally,it had once recruited a twelve year-old boy, who was enrolled in their program, when he was just five years. As a non-governmental organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters gets its funds from the federal government, well-wishers, and donors, who believe in the objective of the organization for upholding the disadvantaged population. Community fundraising has been crucial in sustaining the operations of the Big Brothers Big Sisters while corporate funds and individual contributions have also been helpful.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters is a Warrensburg community organization, whose objective is to achieve a successful community through education and behavioral change among the children. In my attempt to understand the basis of the organization’s operations, I have devised a few questions to the directors of the Big Brothers Big Sisters.
- Critical Reflection
Many people may question whether an individual can commit his/her life to the welfare of other people without any return. This has resulted in the study of the human behavior of non-profit organizations such as the Big Brothers Big Sistersby several scholars. According to Rodhes, the economist James Andreoni, developed the “warm glow” theory, which states that people not only contribute to volunteer programs due to their affinity with their values, but they also develop a positive “glow” within themselves that drives them to help others (n.p). The implication of this theory is that volunteers and mentors in the Big Brothers Big Sisters develop compassion while helping the children to realize their aspirations.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters offers mentoring programs that link-up volunteers with the youth who benefit from the support and guidance, that lack in many homes. Lack of positive adult role models in many homes makes the children develop undesirable behavioural responses, which makes the parents enroll their children for mentoring programs (Herrera, Grossman, Kauh, and McMaken 346). The organization is concerned about how the children react with their parents, and is keen to develop the children’s capacity for a desirable relationships and emotional attachment with the adults in the family, which can give a positive direction to their behavior.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters associate their mentoring program with the attachment theory, which stresses on ways to understand the relationship between the children and other individuals with whom they have developed emotional ties. The basis of emotional attachment contributes towards sustained and frequent engagement without placing too much pressure on the individuals (Li and Julian 158). For instance, some children might like to sit and enjoy reading their favorite books with adults whom they respect, while soccer players might prefer a practice session with a coach who makes them feel as a team rather than individuals.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters conduct their its mentoring programs within the school environment to achieve positive outcomes through role modeling. By taking mentoring program to the schools, the Big Brothers Big Sisters offers the children a more progressive experience and outlook associated with the schools (Herrera et al. 348). Functional theories, which incorporate the role identity theory and the social learning theory, enable one to examine the motives of the volunteers, in addition to the roles played by the individual mentors (Stevens 14). Engaging in school-based activities, boosts the students’ sense of school- belonging, thus inspiring them to succeed academically through the role-modeling. The organization has remained firm in offering its services voluntarily to the children in the schools because it believes that the children who have undergone the mentoring program have a chance of becoming respectable citizens in the society.
Mentoring by the volunteers from the Big Brothers Big Sisters is based on optimal didactic interactions. According to Li and Julian, optimal didactic interactions involve learning and development that is facilitated by the developer -person (or the mentor), who uses his/her tactics onanother person for developing an enduring and emotional attachment towards the developer (158). The relationship between the developer person (mentor) and the mentored involves attachment, reciprocity, advanced complexes, as well as balance , which make the relationship meaningful. Just as the toddlers develop after birth, the adolescents undergo the same development process towards their mentors.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters should have adequate resources for its operations. The organization has developed a strong association with the local affiliates who support their operations, while private funds from individuals, as well as from corporate groups assist the organization to sustain its operations on a nation-wide scale. The federal government supports the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ operations because the organization plays a major role in mentoring the children of prisoners, the children of military personnel, as well as the youth who engage in juvenile crime.
- Learning Experience
After interviewing several members of the managing board, I realized how strong the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring program is in creating a long-lasting impact on the lives of many children and adolescents. The children who have undergone a mentoring program of the Big Brothers Big Sisters are more likely to give up their addiction to alcohol and illegal drugs than those who have never been to a mentoring program. An evaluation of the school-based mentoring program (SBM) by the Big Brothers Big Sisters has revealed that there have been significant changes in the academic performance, school conduct, and class attendance of the children (Chan et al. 3). SBM is quite common in the U.S. due to its effectiveness to rehabilitate the students, who are prone to commit violence, drug abuse, and harassment from family members.
A volunteer mentor who aspires to work with the Big Brothers Big Sisters has to display strong commitment for developing a trusting and supportive friendship with the children, since the organization’s mentoring program is responsible for transforming the lives of the children. The functional theories ensure that the motivations and goals are met through volunteering and mentoring (Stevens 14). Since the mentors work within the school environment, they are constantly in touch with the teachers, who, spend most of their time with students, so that they can learn more about the children under their care (Chan et al. 2). This relationship of the mentors can be extended to the parents, as the mentors could be concerned with the depressive moods of the children .
The Big Brothers Big Sisters has been greatly involved in strengthening the parent-children relationships. Further, the high quality mentor relationships has a significant effect on the parent-child relationships due to the improved bond that develops due to the reduced tensions between the children and the parents. The guidance and support from the mentors is also linked to the improvement in the relations of the children with their parents (Chan et al. 10). Some parents treat their adolescent children like toddlers, leading to silent fear in the adolescents when they are with theparents. Mentoring enables the adolescents to gain courage to talk freely with their parents.
SBM mentors belonging to the Big Brothers Big Sisters engage their the children in various activities such as games, reading, and homework within the school environment on a weekly basis. Such children generally show a marked improvement in class attendance and are less likely to indulge in violent activities. Additionally, the relational advantages that manifest from the enrolling of the children in mentoring programs are improvements in self-worth, academic performance, and decline in drug abuse (Chan et al. 2). The contribution by the Big Brothers Big Sisters has been encouraging in regard to the people’s concern about many people teenagers. The mentoring program has helped the countries availing of the services of the Big Brothers Big Sisters, to reform the delinquent youth into law abiding citizens and also to develop their leadership qualities .
The Big Brothers Big Sisters has been in operation for over a century, on the understandingthat the children require guidance from role models to adjust themselves for leading a normal life. Researchers have concluded that mentoring is necessary for promoting the children’s social and emotional development, which shape their future. Volunteering mentoring programs are based on theories, such as the attachment theory, and the functionalist theories, to explain how relationships develop between the mentors and the children. By offering consistent support, the Big Brothers Big Sisters, has managed to change pessimistic views that the children and the adolescents in need of emotional stability may have a worrisome life. In addition, the mentoring program has enabled the adolescents to enhance their relationships with the adults. Children and adolescents require somebody with whom they can develop healthy emotional attachment, and who can be their role model; thus, the Big Brothers Big Sisters has tried to fill the emotional void by putting each child under the care of a mentor.
“114 Years of History.” Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, 2016, http://www.bbbs.org/history/
Chan, Christian S., et al.
“Pathways of influence in school-based mentoring: The mediating role of parent and teacher relationships.” Journal of School Psychology vol. 51, no.1, 2013, 129-142.
Herrera, Carla,Jean Baldwin Grossman, Tina J. Kauh, and Jennifer McMaken. “Mentoring in schools: an impact study of Big Brothers Big Sisters school-based mentoring.” Child Development vol. 82, no.1, 2011, pp.346-361.
Li, Junlei, and Megan M. Julian. “Developmental relationships as the active ingredient: A unifying working hypothesis of “what works” across intervention settings.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,vol. 82, no. 2, 2012, 157-166.
Rhodes, Jean. “The ‘warm-glow’ theory of giving to others: Implications for mentoring programs.” The Chronicles of Evidence-Based Mentoring, Dec. 14, 2016, http://chronicle.umbmentoring.org/warm-glow-theory-giving-others-implications-mentoring-programs/
Stevens, Matthew Dean. “Maintaining BBBS mentoring relationships: exploring predictors of intensity of contact.” AURA – Antioch University Repository and Archive, Dissertation & Theses, 2014.
Some of the questions that I presented to the management personnel include
1) What is the main objective of Big Brothers Big Sisters?
2) What made Big Brothers Big Sisters stand for this long despite being a non-governmental organization?
3) What are the main requirements for an individual to become a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters?
4) Does Big Brothers Big Sisters train individuals to become mentors and volunteers?
5) How does the management ensure that volunteers and mentors are passing the right information to children and youth?