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A Sense of Belonging

Two Teens at Friends Aim to Create a Sense of Belonging for Younger Program Youth

That’s what two teens at Friends of the Children want to create for younger program youth through peer-to-peer mentoring. “Our childhood at Friends of the Children was great and very community oriented, and we would like to make sure that youth here now can have the same great experience we had by starting this program,” explained Miranda*, who is a junior at Jesuit High School. Her peer mentor partner is Diandra*, a sophomore at Helensview High School. Both teens have several younger siblings and babysit regularly, so they felt ready to work with younger youth. They were also excited to spend their time doing something for which they had begun to develop a passion–at Friends we call it “Finding Your Spark.”

So far, the two have mentored two fourth grade girls with very different personalities. “One was quiet, one was more athletic and had a lot of energy, so we mixed it up by playing games and then doing an art project,” Diandra said. Adjusting on the fly was a little scary at first, but the girls drew on the growth mindset, perseverance, grit, and problem-solving skills they’ve learned over their years in our program. The two are looking forward to further developing their mentoring skills and creating a sense of belonging for more youth by helping with elementary-age group programming sessions.

While both teens are still evaluating colleges and careers, they like working with people and contributing to the sense of community at Friends of the Children.

This story is from our 2019 Impact Report - read the full report here.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the youth. Photo does not necessarily depict the youth in the story