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June 24, 2020

Friend: A Space for Safety and Love

Focusing on the complete transformation of each child.

At Friends of the Children, our mission is to impact generational change by empowering youth who are facing multiple systemic obstacles through relationships with a professional mentor from kindergarten through high school graduation. 12+ years. No matter what.

A Friend's biggest challenge if often helping youth navigate crisis while also working toward long-term goals.

“I see a lot of myself in my boys. A big piece right now is feeling empathy and understanding of where they are at, especially my Black and Brown mentees.”

Paul has mentored the same 11 youth for the past nine years and has seen them grow from little tykes, since kindergarten, to now 10th graders. “I’m watching them navigate society and the world around them, and they are experiencing a lot of the same struggles I had, not feeling validated culturally, especially in academia.”

For Paul, it’s important that he can be a champion for his youth and be a person who provides a space for safety and love.

“Now, two years out from graduation, I’m working to get them to see myself and Friends of a Children–Portland as a resource, not in the sense of getting things, but someone you can really trust and where you can talk about tough things. This is a no-judgment zone where we can connect on the real stuff. For a lot of my youth, they don’t have a space for that anywhere else.”

Our program's powerful impact is not only found in youth stories, but it is also evident in our data. 96 percent of our youth made grade-level progress toward graduation, and 98.8 percent of parents and caregivers believe that their child's life has changed for the better since getting a Friend.

This is only possible because of your support. Thanks to our donors, Friends of the Children–Portland currently employs 50 professional mentors – Friends, who guide and support over 500 children across the Portland metro area.

Be part of this generational change. Your help makes the difference.

“I see a lot of myself in my boys. A big piece right now is feeling empathy and understanding of where they are at, especially my Black and Brown mentees.”
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