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Social Determinants of Health

Improving health and achieving health equity require broad approaches that address social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health. The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring and training programs build and strengthen support systems, facilitate community engagement, reduce stress and mitigate discrimination. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and volunteers engage with program participants where they live and work, and focus programming on building and maintaining relationships between people, as well as facilitating connections between people and institutions such as schools, community organizations, leaders, funders and others.

One of the Social Determinants of Health is Social and Community Context.  People’s relationships and interactions with family, friends, co-workers, and community members can have a major impact on their health and well-being. The staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters help parents, youth and volunteer mentors get the social support they need in the places where they live, work, learn, and play.

Many people face challenges and dangers they can’t control — like unsafe neighborhoods, discrimination, or trouble affording the things they need. This can have a negative impact on health and safety throughout life. Positive relationships at home, at work, and in the community can help reduce or eliminate these negative impacts. But some people — like children whose parents are in jail and adolescents who are bullied — often don’t get support from loved ones or others. Interventions, like Big Brothers Big Sisters programs, help people get the social and community support they need and are critical for improving health and well-being.

To sign up to serve as a mentor or to enroll a child or teen to be paired with a mentor, visit