Far too many children have lives marked by limited opportunities for growth and repeated disappointment from adults. In response to this need in the community, we created the Friends First Mentoring Program in 1987, which matches a child one-on-one with a well-trained volunteer mentor.
Give a Child Opportunities
Many underprivileged children have not ventured far outside their neighborhoods. Friends First outings range from a visit to an art museum to a stroll on a college campus to simply playing Frisbee in a park. Through connection with a trusted adult and exposure to activities, a child can develop a better vision for his or her future beyond the limited horizons that hold back far too many children.
Providing a Child a Trusted Friend
Every child craves one-on-one attention. With classrooms stretched, families burdened, and after school programs cut, many children like those we serve in the Friends First mentoring program lack this needed attention. Our Friends First mentors allow a child to ask questions, share insecurities, and seek advice from a trusted Friends First mentor.
Supporting a Child’s Family
While the focus of the volunteer mentors is solely on the children they mentor, our Friends First program provides the families of children in the program with additional support as well. Whether it’s by helping a family to find affordable furniture, helping a mom complete a school application, or providing a shoulder to cry on, our staff is there to support our young people’s families.
A study by Public/Private Ventures concluded that children with mentors are less likely to start using drugs or alcohol, and are less likely to skip school. And thanks to the work of our volunteer mentors, we see these successes and more in the children we serve.