Big Brother, Big Sister

Angela Lawless, Catherine Hurley

The South Australian Community Health Research Unit (SACHRU) is undertaking an evaluation of the YWCA of Adelaide’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program to explore the implementation of program processes, the quality of program components and the experience of a number mentor-mentee pairs. The evaluation captures the experience and perspectives of ‘Littles’ as they progress through the program as well as the experience and perspectives of their Big Brothers and Sisters (volunteer mentors). The evaluation explores both program processes and the impacts of the program on participants.

Part of the evaluation project brief was to explore options for BBBS to build internal evaluation processes into their routine operation. Working with the BBBS staff, the BBBS program model was examined in relation to understandings of best practice from the relevant literature to develop a ‘program rationale’ and program logic. These articulated the assumptions and evidence on which the BBBS Adelaide program is based, the activities undertaken and the likely short-term and longer-term outcomes. The program logic model was then used to establish an ongoing monitoring and evaluation framework that can be implemented by the BBBS team.