Work Journal Update

3/21/13    start: 6:00   end: 9:00

  • In the past week I have kept hitting dead ends and have been discouraged from researching.  However, in class I realized that it is just as significant, if not more, that local papers are not addressing problems such as poverty or marginalized youth.  I have found very few articles about either of these.  Also, whenever the papers mention BBBS it only mentions fundraisers or events and briefly touches on the mission of the organization.  I need to start reading between the lines and figuring out the significance of this dearth of information.
    • Could it be that citizens, and reporters, of Williamsburg do not care about these problems?  Do they not know they exist?  Are they ashamed by them? Could acknowledgement of poverty in the area discourage tourism?
    • Printed out articles for the paper archive
    • Contacted research librarian at Swem about finding more information. She was extremely helpful.
      • She told me to look at Access World News to try to find more local articles.
      • She sent me a link to a 2001 Daily Press article called “Rubber Ducky, You’re the One—Big Brothers Big Sisters Counting On Derby to Bring in Money”
        • The Great Colonial Duck Derby at Water Country USA is a fundraiser for BBBS of Greater Williamsburg.  The article states that “the fund-raiser is essential for paying for activities for children and adults involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters in the City of Williamsburg, James City and upper York counties.”
  • There is a report called “Making a Difference. An Impact Study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters that can be delivered to the library
    • I need to go to the circulation desk and do this tomorrow
  • Another report called “Does Mentoring Work? : An Impact Study of the BBBS Program seems like it could be useful in looking at the impact the organization has made internationally
    • This study found that “this type of mentoring had a significant positive effect on youths ages 10-16. Over the 18 month follow-up period, youths participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters Programs were significantly less likely to have started using illegal drugs or alcohol, hit someone, or skipped school.  They were also more confident about their school performance and got along better with their families.”
    • “The institutions we have historically relied on to provide youths with adult support and guidance—families, schools, and neighborhoods—have changed in ways that reduce their capacity to deliver such support”
    • “This article provides the evidence that BBBS—a mentoring program that facilitates meaningful and long-lasting adult/youth relationships—does make a difference.”
    • Section 2 of the report: BBBS program model
      • BBBS pairs adults with children in single-parent households according to this study (IS THIS THE SAME AT EVERY CHAPTER? ASK IN INFO GATHERING OR INTERVIEW)
      • Big and little meet 2-4 times a month for at least a year for about 3 or 4 hours each time
      • ****”BBBS IS NOT A PROGRAM TARGETED AT AMELIORATING SPECIFIC PROBLEMS, BUT RATHER AT PROVIDING A YOUTH WITH AN ADULT FRIEND” (so the organization does not have a wider focus on certain problems like poverty or marginalization?)
      • study selected 8 local BBBS agencies to study
        • they were chosen for geographic diversity
      • Section 3: design of evaluation
        • Random assignment of half applicants to an 18 month waiting list for BBBS (control group) and the other half were matched with a big. “The impact of BBBS was determined by comparing the outcomes of these two groups 18 months later.”
      • Section 4: characteristics of youths who participated
        • Tables detailing race/gender and other characteristics
        • 62.4% of the analysis sample were boys and 56.8% were of a minority group.  71% of the minority group were African American, 18% Hispanic and the rest were of  a variety of other racial/ethnic groups
        • more than 40% of youths lived in households that were receiving fod stamps and/or cash publish assistance.
        • Consistent with all BBBS agencies, girls are more likely to be matched than boys—it is universally more difficult to find males to volunteer as bigs
        • Characteristics of bigs: “generally well-educated young professionals”
          • More than 60% had a college or graduate degree
          • Average age of men: 30, women: 28
      • Section 5: evidence on how “youths who participated in a BBBS program differed, 18 months later from similar youths who were randomly assigned to a control group.
        • Hypothesis: “By providing youths with good role models, helping them to cope with peer pressures, to think through the consequences of their actions, and to become involved in socially acceptable activities, volunteers would inhibit youths from initiating alcohol or drug use and delinquent behavior”
          • Findings: Littles less likely than their control counterparts to start using illegal drugs and alcohol during the study; hitting decreased
          • Hypothesized that littles would value school more, have better attendance, and get better grades. (especially after the first study period)
            • Littles reported slightly better grades than control youths, improvement in school attendance—impact larger for girls
            • “research shows that youths who feel more competent in school tend to be more engaged and perform better.”
            • Hypothesis: forming one successful relationship would carry over to a youth’s other relationships by helping him/her to trust others, express anger more productively and generally become able to relate to others more effectively”
              • Findings: family and peer relationships improved for littles
      • Section 6: summarizes positive impacts
        • “taken together, the results presented here show that having a BB or BS offers tangible benefits for youths”
        • “this study does not provide evidence that any type of mentoring works, but rather that mentoring programs that facilitate the types of relationships we observed in the BBBS program work.”
  • She also sent the link to a book called “One to One: The Story of the BBBS Movement in America”
    • I am working on locating this book. I am hoping to use the Interlibrary Loan system, but I cannot currently remember my password.
    • This book seems to provide a comprehensive history of BBBS and its current characteristics.
    • “The book notes that the BB/BS grew into a popular movement because of its simple yet effective approach in fostering positive youth development through a friendship with an adult carefully selected for characteristics as a role model and capacity for friendship.”
  • Another book, written in 1995 called “Building Relationships With Youth in Program Settings: A Study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters” looks promising.
    • I am also trying to locate this book because I think that it is important to look at the organization and its impact on a national scale in order to understand the local chapter
    • I am going to Big Brothers Big Sisters office tomorrow morning (for real this time). Unless, of course there is too much snow. I am hoping to talk to someone to gather the date that this chapter was founded as well as getting some names of people to interview.
    • To do:
      • Keep looking for news presence
      • I am still waiting for responses to emails about interviews. Maybe I will send some follow up emails



1 Response to “Work Journal Update”

  1. 1 sgglos March 27, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Great notes! Look forward to talking tomorrow!

Comments are currently closed.


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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