In December, Friends First held their annual Christmas party at Mercy Home’s West Loop Campus. The celebration brimmed with holiday cheer, as mentors and mentees – many decked out in red and green attire – took part in the yuletide festivities.

Surrounded by Christmas music, decorations, and a video projection of a roaring fireplace, matches enjoyed decorating cookies, making ornaments, and playing reindeer games while fueling themselves with hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.

Several cast members from the Chicago production of “Hamilton” stopped by to graciously volunteer as Santa’s little helpers, as they joined the fun and participated in activities. The Big Man himself – Santa Claus – also dropped by with a merry band of elves to pose for photos by the Christmas tree.

Fr. Scott Donahue addressed the crowd with season’s greetings and gratitude for the Friends First Mentoring Program after another great year of mentors being positive role models for our mentees. Guests then enjoyed a pasta feast, compliments of Portillo’s.

Friends First is a mentoring program that helps children gain self-confidence and direction, while resisting negative peer pressure. Our mentors give their time to take our kids to places like ball games, museums, parks, and more. Many of our young people have never ventured outside of their neighborhood prior to their involvement with Friends First. By having a mentor, they benefit by experiencing new things, seeing new parts of the city, and having a friend to lend an ear and lead by example.

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