In Vienna with Big Brothers Big Sisters

In Austria, 17% of all families are single parent families, and a total 332,000 children risk poverty and social exclusion. These circumstances create disadvantages that can affect children’s health, growth and future success: recent studies demonstrate that 25% of all young Austrians suffer from at least one mental health issue.

The Human Safety Net, in cooperation with Generali Austria and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has developed a new family mentoring program – FAME, or Family Association for Mental health Everywhere – that strengthens parenting skills and supports children ages 3-6 living in deprived and challenging situations.

The 6-month program applies a resource-based approach designed to foster healthy relationships between parents and children from an early age. It is targeted to families who do not have access to, awareness of or means to pay for parenting support. Six training modules address topics like relationships with children, child development, boundaries, routines, stress management and more. Children participate in parallel workshops on similar topics that are run in a playful, age-appropriate manner. A mentor spends time with them, creating positive experiences through weekly activities. Both parents and children are supported by professional trainers, and the structure includes corporate volunteering opportunities for Generali Austria employees.

The program

The first group of family mentoring (children, parents, mentors) started in September 2019 in Vienna. The programme is designed to support the entire family to give children between the ages of three and six a better chance for their future. In order to have a formative influence during this important time, mentors provide the children with time, attention and appreciation as persons of trust. On the other hand, parents who face special challenges learn to discover their strengths and make better use of their potential.

Partners involved

Local activities

Big Brothers Big Sisters
1:1 mentoring and workshops for parents and children

BBBS is an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters International and has been offering mentoring programs for disadvantaged children and youth in Austria since 2012. Together with Generali Austria, BBBS has developed Family Mentoring (FAME), a new program designed to strengthen parenting skills and improve the lives of children ages 3-6 in deprived and challenging situations. Family Mentoring combines one-to-one mentoring with workshops for parents and children, applying a resource-based approach that is designed to foster healthy relationships between parents and children starting from an early age.