Big Brothers Big Sisters Selects Mentoring Central To Develop Online Mentor Training Program

DURHAM, NC—Mentoring Central, a wholly-owned subsidiary of innovation Research & Training (iRT)–a behavioral sciences research company, today announced an agreement with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America allowing the nation’s premier mentoring organization to adopt a customized version of Mentoring Central’s online mentor training program for use with up to 100,000 mentoring volunteers.

Mentoring Central’s web-based training course for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Making You the Best Big Possible:  Pre-Match Training for Big Brothers Big Sisters Volunteers, prepares volunteers by developing realistic expectations and relationship initiation skills so they can develop a strong relationship with their future Littles.  The user-friendly course allows for “on-demand” interactive multimedia learning with opportunities for practice, personal application, and testing of new knowledge.  Adapted by Mentoring Central for use by Big Brothers Big Sisters, the course is the first step in helping volunteers as they contemplate and initiate a relationship with their Little.

Two post-match courses on How Can I Be a Successful Big? focus on ethical and safety issues, boundaries, and skills for building a strong, fun, collaborative mentoring relationship.  Post-match Bigs are also introduced to how to sensitively and clearly end their mentoring relationship.

The agreement calls for Big Brothers Big Sisters to use the web-based training to teach mentors about knowledge, attitudes, and skills that the youth mentoring field suggests are crucial to promoting effective mentoring relationships. Mentoring Central will retain all licensing rights to its state-of-the-art, ground-breaking, web-based learning course.  iRT has also provided Big Brothers Big Sisters with the three courses in an alternative format in the form of an instructor-led training kit, for use by Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates wishing to conduct live, in-person training workshops with Bigs.

“We are excited to have partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide them with a new way to provide standardized, research-based mentor training by customizing our online courses and making them broadly available to prospective and early match Bigs,” said Dr. Janis Kupersmidt, president, iRT.  “Big Brothers Big Sisters and Mentoring Central share a common philosophy that training is crucial for mentors to provide them with the information and skills they need to become a positive and effective influence in a child’s life.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters will host Mentoring Central’s customized mentor training course in the ExpertusONE learning management system (LMS). The system integrates traditional LMS capabilities, collaborative social learning tools, and content search capabilities into a single learning platform.

Big Brothers Big Sisters selected Mentoring Central’s web-based training, because it is the only web-based mentor training available that is completely research-based, interactive, and field-tested. The Mentoring Central team includes the world-renowned scientist, Dr. Jean Rhodes, director of the MENTOR/UMB Boston Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring.  “Mentoring Central is grounded entirely in evidence and its dynamic web-based delivery platform represents the state-of-the-art,” said Dr. Rhodes. “By embracing evidence-based training, Big Brothers Big Sisters is, once again, ahead of the curve. With this collaboration we are poised to dramatically improve the training of volunteers and, ultimately, the effectiveness of youth mentoring,” she said.

“Mentoring Central has demonstrated a special expertise in youth mentoring research, mentor training, and translation of research and best practices to web-based course development,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters President and CEO, Charles Pierson. “Mentoring Central understands the scale of our volunteer footprint and they have demonstrated a commitment to helping validate and continuously improve training resources to be optimally effective for mentors and staff.”


About Mentoring Central
Mentoring Central, a wholly-owned subsidiary of innovation Training & Research (iRT)—a behavioral sciences research company committed to identifying and solving significant real-world problems facing children, families, communities, and organizations.  Developed by iRT scientists and researchers, Mentoring Central provides web-based training products and services to support and strengthen mentoring programs and relationships.  For more information on Mentoring Central, visit  To learn more about iRT, visit

About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Survey substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those of single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 110 year history. With nearly 340 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves approximately 600,000 children, volunteers and families. The organization is engaged in a nationwide search to reunite with alumni mentors, mentees, donors, and family, staff and board members. Learn more at

Media Contact: 
Yvette Ruffin, APR
Director, Marketing and Communications
Innovative Research & Training