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May 16, 2023

2023: Our 30th Anniversary

Celebrate our three decades of intentional mentorship with us and hear from those who have been impacted by FriendsPDX!

In 1993, Friends of the Children opened its doors with three friends serving 24 children. Today, Friends of the Children–Portland Friends guide, support, and mentor hundreds of youth across the Greater Portland area.

Our model was founded on research showing that the single most important factor in overcoming childhood adversity is a long-term, nurturing relationship with a consistent and caring adult. Research over the past three decades continues to affirm how much these relationships matter.

The Harvard Business School Association of Oregon showed that for every $1 invested in Friends of the Children, the community benefits over $7 in saved social costs. Helping one child saves the community hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read more about our Return on Investment.

Our Mission

Impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what.

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In last year's impact report, we highlighted FriendsPDX alumni (Class of 2019), Enrique Fuller-Avalos and his 12+ year-long journey with FriendsPDX. In this video, he shares about the impact of FriendsPDX on his life and the Portland community. Enrique also gives us an update on what he's up to next!

Watch Enrique's 30th anniversary message!

Thomas Keller

Dr. Thomas E. Keller was recruited to Portland State University as the Duncan & Cindy Campbell Professor in 2006. He started the Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring in 2007 and the Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research in 2010. He has been Co-Investigator of BUILD EXITO since 2013.

Dr. Keller's research interests include the development and influence of youth mentoring relationships, social networks in mentoring interventions, evaluation of mentoring program innovations and enhancements, the professional development of program staff, and the mentoring of undergraduates in science, biomedical, and health fields.

Check our Dr. Thomas Keller's celebratory message!

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Alumni Rashad Richmond was part of FriendsPDX from 1994-2005. He shares about how Jerrell, his first Friend, and other members of the FriendsPDX community have remained in his life - like how Jerrell is his son's godfather. Currently, Rashad works for the family business, a preschool, Richmond Learning Academy here in Portland.

Get to know Rashad and hear an anecdote about meeting his first Friend.


Alumni James Tyrrell was part of FriendsPDX from 1994-2008. In this video he shares about the impact of FriendsPDX on his life and talks a bit about some of the fun activities he remembers participating in with his Friend, John Foster. James, known as Jimmy during his time at FriendsPDX, is now a a married father of two. He works for the Oregon Judicial Department as the Behavioral Health Program Coordinator of Marion, Polk, Yamhill, and Benton Circuit Courts.

Jimmy shares that "my goal is to help people - especially people in need."

Hear Jimmy's message of congratulations to FriendsPDX.

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Former FriendsPDX Friend, James McGee, was on staff from 2005-2010. He shares about how his work as a Friend introduced him to Grant High School, where he now works as principal, and how deeply FriendsPDX has made a difference in the lives of kids, families, and Friends throughout Portland during its thirty years.

Mr. James McGee shares about his influential 5-year tenure at FriendsPDX.

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