Friends of the Children provides Portland’s most vulnerable children with intensive and long-term mentors. We take a preventive, early intervention approach that breaks the cycle of poverty and abuse by helping children in need overcome the many obstacles in their lives.
There are three key elements that make Friends of the Children so unique:
*We mentor the children in our community who need us the most.
*Our mentors (called Friends) are full-time, paid and professionally trained.
*We make a twelve and a half year (12 ½) commitment to each child, selecting them in kindergarten and guiding them through high school graduation.
In partnership with schools, children are identified for the program during an extensive six-week selection process during the spring semester of kindergarten. Selection factors include a low level of family resources, poor performance in school, poor social skills, and high instances of poverty and violence in the neighborhood where our children live.
Once selected, the child is assigned to a Friend. This Friend will spend an average of 16 hours per month with the child both in and out of school engaging him or her in a wide range of academic and enrichment activities designed to build basic life skills, self confidence, academic success and resiliency.
The activities that Friends and children do together are unique to the child’s individual needs, abilities, interests and talents. Friends engage in activities with our children that foster social and emotional development, making positive choices and school success, as well as nurture each child’s passions and talents. These activities take place in the child’s school, home and community, and may include working on homework, cooking healthy foods, practicing an instrument, playing sports, performing community service, visiting the library, museum, OMSI or attending a concert. We introduce our children to positive options for their life and extend their community of support.