One of the suggestions you hear over and over again in recovery is to be of service. This does not mean only be of service to people in AA, but to people and organizations outside of it as well. One great way to be of service is to volunteer your time and mentor a young child or teen. Young children and teens today in our society are unfortunately prone to many troublesome influences and can get swept into lives filled with drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors before they even know what hit them.
In a study recently conducted over the course of a five-year period by The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada (BBBSC), researchers found significant improvement in the behavior and academic progress of 1,000 participants who were mentored as children and teenagers.
“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.”
Some of the researcher’s key findings include:
- Girls with a Big Sister are two-and-a-half times more likely than girls without a mentor to be confident in their abilities to be successful at school.
- Boys with Big Brothers are three times less likely than boys without mentors 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 tempers or expressing anger.
The BBBSC and other BBBS centers around the world will certainly benefit from these findings. One area of improvement will likely be in the area of matching up Big Brothers and Sisters with their younger counterparts in need of mentoring. More efficient match support will be provided for all three participants; the Big, the child or teen, and the parent, to better deal with potential and earlier recognition of special needs.
“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 Brothers 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.”
- “Mentoring Children And Teens Offers Many Positive Effects.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 17 Jan. 2013. Web. 21 Jan. 2013.
Filed under: Recovery, Research · Tags: BBBSC, being of service, Big Brothers, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, Big Sisters, CAMH, mentors, mentorship, service, the 12th step, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health