Transforming Buffalo Through Mentoring & Education
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier has identified improving the educational outcomes and graduation rate in the Buffalo Public Schools as a targeted priority. To achieve this objective, we launched a bold and ambitious new strategic initiative – Transforming Buffalo through Mentoring and Education (TBTME) in partnership with the Buffalo Public School District. TBTME incorporates additional educational support for the child by involving the mentor in the child’s school to create a bridge of support so that academic and life-skills lessons learned can be reinforced while the child is home, in his/her neighborhood and in the community at large. The initiative focuses on keeping children matched with a mentor until they walk across a stage with a high school diploma in hand.
Over the last several years Buffalo Public Schools has achieved success by increased their graduation rate from 50% to 64% for the graduating class of 2016. However, there is still more progress to be made. Buffalo Public’s graduation rate is still significantly less than the New York State graduation rate average of 79.4%.
We hold firm to our belief that a long-term, 1-to-1 mentoring relationship that is created and supported by a best practice mentoring model can impact these numbers. Our yearly outcomes for elementary, middle school and high school aged children matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister show significant improvement in the skills and beliefs that impact educational achievement. We are confident that with mentoring support, our children will continue to achieve academically thus, improving the future graduation rates for Buffalo Public Schools.
Our Record of Success
Research shows that children at the elementary level who do not attend school regularly fall behind their peers, have difficulty learning to read, and eventually cannot keep up with their classmates. The frustration of not being successful in the classroom leads to increased truancy and eventually school dropout. However, research also shows that mentoring can be a powerful tool in the fight against chronic absenteeism and other factors that impact school performance
The Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has identified Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s mentoring programs as an exemplary strategy to address these issues. Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a 45+ year history of helping over 10,000 children reach their full potential by providing carefully screened, well-trained volunteer mentors. At the end of the 2017-2018 school year,
- 98.6% of the children matched through BBBS were promoted to the next grade level,
- 89.6% had a more positive attitude towards school,
- 98.9% had improved self-confidence.
Other positive outcomes from the 2015-2016 school year for children enrolled in Transforming Buffalo Through Mentoring & Education include:
31.5% of our children were not severely or chronically absent during the 2017-2018 school year.
71% of children who have been matched with a mentor in the program for two school years decreased the number of discipline referrals they received, compared to the previous year, or did not receive any discipline referrals at all.
- Over half of the children in the program maintained or increased their grade averages in Math, Science, English/Language Arts and Social Studies between the 1st and 4th
Our Program to Transform Buffalo One Child at a Time
The Transforming Buffalo Through Mentoring & Education initiative strives to facilitate a relationship between the mentor and the child’s school to help ensure the child’s academic success. Big Brothers and Big Sisters in this program, through the support of agency staff, are kept aware of what is happening in the child’s academic life, encouraged to discuss academics and to attend school events. The goal of TBTME is to create a friendship and mentoring relationship that will continue through high school and result in graduation. BBBS, through a partnership with Buffalo Public Schools, facilitates the relationship between the child, parent/guardian, Big Brother or Big Sister and school.
Our TBTME Big Brothers & Big Sisters
The role of the volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister mentor is to offer enriching out of school experiences, for a few hours, at least twice a month, that integrate everyday life activities with the lesson plans and initiatives offered at the child’s school. Time together might include working on a school project, visiting a local museum or historical site or just hanging out playing games and talking about the child’s day. Additionally, the mentor is encouraged to have an ongoing role in the child’s academic life by attending school events and establishing relationships with the teachers and school staff. An agency Case Manager will be assigned to work with the mentors, children and their parent or guardian to help with the development of the relationship.
Transforming Buffalo Through Mentoring & Education is seeking individuals , corporations and foundations interested in becoming investors in the future of our children. Please consider becoming a partner today!
A BIG Thanks to the funders of Transforming Buffalo Through Mentoring & Education & Community Based Mentoring:
Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Buffalo Sabres Foundation
Children’s Foundation of Erie County
Community Development Block Grant
Marks Family Foundation
National Fuel Gas Company
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
Variety- The Children’s Charity of Buffalo & Western NY