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December 10, 2021

Empowering Self-Determination

Youth bios help us guide with grace.

An example of our Friend bios that can be used by our paid, professional mentors to share their stories with the youth they walk alongside.

For youth, the Fall season not only offers the enjoyment of running through crisp piles of leaves but also includes the back-to-school transition. For some, this might invoke a wide range of emotions, including varied levels of excitement and anxiety. Meeting new people, being in large peer-to-peer settings, and hearing about school expectations are all shifts that can create potential hurdles, especially as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Friends of the Children-Portland (FriendsPDX), we acknowledge that sometimes, no matter one’s age, it is hard to meet new people and become a self-advocate when engaging in a new social space and environment. Friends and youth create youth bios to use as a tool to help with this. Youth had the opportunity for self-assessment, to recognize and be proud of their own Strengths, identify activities that create joy and Spark, and offered empowerment in setting their own goal(s).

An example of our youth bio template for younger youth we serve.

These bios created freedom for youth to shape the narrative about themselves. Each youth then chose who they wanted to share their bio with which helps form a powerful foundation for Positive Relationship Building. Each Friend was invited to engage in this activity by writing and sharing their own Friends Bio! Often, these bios are shared with teachers and school counselors as a way for youth to advocate for themselves and for Friends to introduce themselves to each youth’s school team. It is proactive measures like these that help youth build community outside of the 1:1 relationship with their Friend.

FriendsPDX is so grateful to walk alongside each youth as they continue their unique journey into the 2021-2022 school year!