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Big Brothers and Big Sisters Mentoring Program


The program is designed to help younger adolescents (called 'littles', ages 6-18), especially those facing adversity, reach their potential by matching them with adult volunteers (age 18 or more) who serve as mentors. The matching takes various factors (such as ethnicity, religion, preferences, etc.) into consideration.

Target Problem

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • All other drugs


  • After school

Target Participants

  • Elementary to high school students, particularly those facing adversity
  • Age group: 6-18
  • Gender: Male and female

Assumptions and Outcomes

Main intermediate factor(s) assumed to influence substance misuse

  • Positive adult role models

Underlying assumptions

  • Having a positive adult role model that commits to spend time with the youth is one means of preventing the youth from getting involved with risky behaviors as well as being a way to help them to reach their potentials.

Non-substance misuse outcomes

  • Academic achievement
  • Self-confidence
  • Reduction in violent behaviors

Program Structure


  • There is no fixed lessons that the ‘littles’ have to take. However, a typical program requires the pair to spend 3-5 hours per week together for at least one year.


  • Providers/facilitators: Adult volunteers (18+) who spend time together with the ‘littles’
  • Training needed: Yes, after the potential volunteers pass the rigorous screening process to make sure they would honor the time commitment and do not pose a safety risk to the youth.

Previous Implementations


  • The program started in 1904 and has been implemented in 50 states and all US territories. It also has been implemented in more than 10 countries, ranging from Russia to Bermuda.

Previous participants

  • African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • White

Cultural relevance for Hawai‘i

No contextual relevance
Place-based or ethno-culture
Place-based and ethno-culture
Place-based or ethno-culture pertaining to Hawai‘i
Hawai‘i-oriented contextual relevance

Note: This framework was based on a study which examined several nationally recognized prevention programs to determine whether any may have cultural relevance to the context of Hawai‘i (Rehurer, Hiramatsu & Helm, 2008 ). We borrowed this framework and applied it to a more current list of EBPs. This approach looks at whether or not a program’s curriculum content was originated and developed with a certain place or culture in mind. A score of 0 (zero) indicates no specific reference to a place or an ethno-culture was included in the program’s development (no contextual cultural relevance) and a score of 4 (four) indicates that the program was developed either specifically for Hawai‘i or was developed somewhere else but was then also adapted for "local" and/or Native Hawaiian cultures. Placement of a program on the continuum was based on the sample population listed in their study reports and included considerations of 1) whether the program was ever implemented with populations similar to the racial/ethnic composition of Hawai‘i's population and 2) whether the program was ever adapted to meet the needs of a specified local or ethnic culture (for instance, was the curriculum has successfully implemented in Spanish or languages other than English?).

Ever implemented in Hawai‘i?

  • Yes

Previous implementation in Hawai‘i

Time Period
Honolulu County
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Honolulu

Is there any published study with Hawai‘i participants?

  • No


Contact Information

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters National Office, 450 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 100, Irving, TX 75062, Phone: (469) 351-3100, Fax: (972) 717-6507- fax
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters website:


  • Center on the Family, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. (2016). Prevention Programs Online Survey, 2014–2016 (Tool C2 & D5)
  • Center on the Family, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. (2013). Substance Abuse Prevention Resource Mapping Project
  • Rehuher, D., Hiramatsu, T., & Helm, S. (2008). Evidence-based youth drug prevention: a critique with implications for practice-based contextually relevant prevention in Hawai‘i. Hawaii Journal of Public Health. 1(1): 52-61. Retrieved from
  • Yuan, S., Sabino, S., & Wongkaren, T. (2013). Final evaluation report: Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, State of Hawaii, 2006-2012. Honolulu, HI: Center on the Family, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.