Looking for a way to make a real difference in one child’s life?

If you have 8-10 hours a month to spare, you can.

Mentors help children gain self-confidence and direction, and resist negative peer pressure. They give of their time and take these young people to places like ball games, museums, parks and more. Many of these young people may never have had ventured outside of their own neighborhood prior to their involvement with Friends First. By having a mentor, they benefit just by experiencing new things, seeing new parts of the city, and having a friend to lend an ear and lead by example.

Friends First screens and trains adult volunteers who wish to mentor a child. We provide ongoing support, supervision and encouragement to matches. Through professional staff services, we help to foster the positive of significant and life-changing friendships.

To be a mentor to a child, you need to be 21 or older, patient, and a good listener.

Curious about mentoring?

There are boys and girls waiting to be matched with a suitable mentor right now! You could be the person who makes the difference in a young person’s life.

Join us at our next information session. You will have the opportunity to talk to with our program staff and learn about how you can make a real difference.

You can also request more information on all of our volunteering opportunities by clicking on the button below.

Who We Serve

Friends First serves youth between the ages of 9 and 17 in many areas of Chicago and some nearby suburbs.

African Americans and Latinos represent over two-thirds of the children we serve. Our children are predominantly from single-parent and low-income homes. The majority of the youth on our wait list are boys.

How Does Mentoring Work?

To ensure successful, impactful matches, Friends First staff offers support above and beyond what is provided in typical mentoring programs. This includes providing access to a licensed clinical social worker, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our staff is on a first-name basis with every mentor and child and considers all of our families and volunteers to be part of the Mercy Home community.

Consistency is critical to positive mentoring. More than 60% of our current matches have continued to mentor beyond their initial one year commitment.