Mentoring for Change. Mentoring for Good.

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees; Placed out-of-home; Visible minority/ethnic group

Topic: Aggressive/violent behaviours

Setting: Rural/remote area; Urban area; Community-based setting; Social services setting

Location: Alberta; Ontario; Saskatchewan

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Mentoring for Change. Mentoring for Good. program is a community-based mentoring program that helps referred youth resist or mitigate the risk factors of violence and enhance skills that lead to healthy and positive lives. Using a one on one adult to youth ration, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) proposed initiative tailors their services to meet the distinctive needs of the target groups by incorporating best practices shown to be effective in working with high risk target groups.

The program is centered on community mobilization; mentoring and tutoring; counselling and social work; parent training; and social emotional learning


The main goals of the Mentoring for Change. Mentoring for Good. program are to:

  • Decrease the at-risk youth’s engagement in violent activities;
  • Decrease social alienation, hopelessness, and depressive symptoms among youth ; and
  • Increase youth confidence and participation in pro-social activities.


The target group for this project is youth aged 10-18 who are at risk of developing delinquent trajectories, with a focus on youth living in or transitioning out of care, newcomer populations and/or visible minorities, and Aboriginal youth.

Youth participants will be identified and referred through schools; partnerships with social service agencies and other community partners; parents/guardians; word of mouth; and other media/communication strategies.

Core Components

The key activities for the Mentoring for Change. Mentoring for Good. include:

  • Match activities: Mentors are given general parameters they must follow; for example, no expensive activities and no overnight outings. As long as matches follow those broad parameters, they will be free to engage in activities of their choosing that continue to allow for: emotional support, teaching/information provision; advocacy; and modeling. Activities for mentors and youth will be planned and structured, especially during the development stage of the relationship;
  • Monitor and Support Matches: Regular, meaningful match contacts will assist program staff to address areas of difficulty in the relationship prior to those difficulties leading to significant challenges or premature or avoidable match closure; and
  • Match Closure: Match participants will be provided with both pre- and post-match training and pre-match closure to ensure mentees experience ending the relationship in a healthy way and that matches end positively. Additionally, exit interviews will be conducted with match participants and will provide information for program enhancement/improvement.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Limited information on this topic.
  • Partnerships: Individual Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies need to establish and formalize MOU’s with the various community stakeholders (local Police Services, Medical Health Units, Children’s Aid Societies, Youth Advocate Societies, Group Homes, Schools, etc.)
  • Training and technical assistance: Mentor recruitment should be done through partnerships with businesses, colleges and universities, participation in community activities, events or information sessions; and online strategies.  Mentors are screened following BBBSC’s National Standards.
  • Risk assessment tools: Big Brothers Big Sisters’ framework for assessment of risk has been developed by Dr. Carla Herrera, an acknowledged expert in the field.
  • Materials & resources: An evaluation tool should be used for the program, and the program staff should be trained in the evaluation design. For the current implementation of this program, the evaluator conducts real-time evaluation supervision and support during site visits.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to the Big Brother Big Sisters of Canada for the Mentoring for Change. Mentoring for Good. program, which has been implemented in three different locations in Canada between 2016 and 2021; Edmonton (Alberta), Grand Erie (Ontario), and Saskatoon (Saskatchewan).

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation study of Mentoring for Change. Mentoring for Good. was carried out between September, 2016 and May, 2021 by Dr. Melanie Bania of Principal, Community-Engaged Consulting. The evaluation methodology included a mixed-methods design, including qualitative (e.g., interviews, questionnaires, focus groups) and quantitative (e.g., pre- and post-testing) measures. A transformative paradigm, which recognizes that realities are constructed and shaped by social, political, cultural, economic, and racial/ethnic values, was used in the evaluation of the program.

Results from this evaluation showed the following:

  • A total of 193 youth participated in the program, either through group, 1:1 mentoring, or a combination of both, during the evaluation period, with most demonstrating high levels of risk (84%) using the youth self-report pre Risk/Resiliency questionnaire (YR:ADS).
  • Self-report pre- and post-testing indicated a significant decrease in aggressive behaviours/violence (mean pre-test score = 0.78; mean post-test score = 0.38) and offending (mean pre-test score = 0.42; mean post-test score = 0.30), and an increase in social sensitivity (e.g., caring for others, empathy, and equity and social justice; mean pre-test score = 3.55; mean post-test score = 4.25) among the youth involved in the program.

Cost Information

No information available.


Bania, M. (2021). Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada: Mentoring for Change. Mentoring for Good [Unpublished final evaluation report]. Submitted to Public Safety Canada.

For more information on this program, contact:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
3228 South Service Road, Suite 113E
Burlington, Ontario, L7N 3H8
Telephone: (905) 639-046

Record Entry Date - 2018-02-27
Record Updated On - 2023-01-09
Date modified: