Oct 19, 2015

OurSpace Launch

Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to connecting vulnerable children with mentors, no matter where they are in Australia. This is the inspiration behind OurSpace, a brand new online e-mentoring program that helps to connect children (Littles) with volunteer mentors (Bigs) regardless of where they might live.

In the past, mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters has required Bigs and Littles to live within 30 minutes of each other, to limit the time volunteer mentors are required to travel. This has meant that Littles living outside of urban areas often weren't eligible for a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor.

OurSpace provides Bigs and Littles everywhere with a safe and secure online environment to build a positive and interactive relationship online. Through connecting on the OurSpace service, vulnerable children don't have to miss out on a mentor- even if they live too far away to participate in a traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters program. OurSpace can also be used to support children who might not be able to participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters' other mentoring programs due to chronic, mental or physical disabilities, or exclusion or isolation for cultural reasons. The platform is administered by Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring professionals, who monitor and support each e-mentoring match.

As part of its relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand developed the technology that powers OurSpace. OurSpace features games, videos and activities that Bigs and Littles can experience together online including cooking, gardening, dancing, or creating a science experiment. Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO, Sherilyn Hanson says, "what we wanted to do was allow the mentoring relationship to grow online, much the same way as relationship grow in person and that is by having a safe place to do things together and have fun"

Early results from our pilot matches and from research overseas have confirmed the same positive impacts we have in other mentoring programs. Young people who have been mentored in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have greater confidence, a better sense of self-worth, and are more independent. In the future, they are more likely to stay in school, less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol, and less likely to end up in jail.

We pleased to launch OurSpace across Australia which will allow more young people to be supported by a long term one to one mentor.

From the Social Networks