January 05, 2024
A Look Back at 2023
Our long-term, intentional mentoring program is rooted in one-to-one mentorship between the young people we serve and their Friend. We're currently fully staffed with 42 professional mentors – but they're not just mentors, they're Friends: full-time professionals walking alongside youth.
One such Friend, a bouldering enthusiast, watched a youth scale a personal Everest – not on a mountain, but on a climbing wall. This simple shared passion ignited a spark in the young person, fueling confidence and resilience.
This is the power of FriendsPDX. Your support gives every young person we walk alongside access to dedicated Friends who:
- Invest 4 hours weekly: Because quality mentoring takes time and commitment.
- Light the way for 8 youth: Each Friend has a ripple effect through countless lives.
- Spark potential, ignite confidence: Just like that bouldering wall, we help youth conquer personal mountains.
In addition to the one-to-one mentoring that occurs between Friends and the youth we walk alongside, we hosted 191+ events for young people to attend. That's almost four events per week! These outings range from farm visits to communal cooking classes, age-appropriate support groups, and more. Youth and Friends may also plan activities that are specifically requested by youth, like Pokémon, video games, and science experiments. With 350 youth served by FriendsPDX, there are a bunch of different interests, providing lots of different opportunities for connection. And of course, if a young person has a very special, niche interest, Friends are able to support their exploration during one-on-one mentoring and outings as well.
We have a dedicated youth engagement team of three that oversees the coordinating and planning of these events. Plus, additional program staff members oversee specific activity programming based on Future Pathways, School Success, Family and Alumni Engagement, and more!
In summer 2023, we launched Adventure Club for rising 3rd graders. The camp was designed for youth to practice their literacy skills in a variety of ways, as time out of the classroom can detrimentally affect the progress youth made during the school year.
We wanted to encourage curiosity and a love of learning. Our goal was for these young people to have fun, use their imagination, build positive relationships with their mentor and other youth, and of course practice basic literacy and phonics skills. This comprehensive program was available for 10 youth who were committed to attending twice a week for four weeks for two hours! Meals were provided for them and every day brought fun activities – reading to a therapy dog, trips to Rockwood Library for story time, a scavenger hunt, and a trip to get paletas from La Michoacana Dulce!
The books that we read and that youth got to take home were:
- Dragons Love Tacos
- Jabari Jumps
- Paletero Man
- The Most Magnificent Thing