Friends for Youth, Inc.

Rating: 5 stars   10 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth

Location: 1741 Broadway Redwood City CA 94063 USA

Mission: The mission of Friends for Youth is to create creating quality mentoring relationships for youth who need them most. Our vision is to transform lives through the power of human relationships.
Results: During the past year, youth involved in our MENTORING SERVICES program reported ~ A reduction in risk behaviors (such as drug or alcohol use) and a decrease in legal involvement ~ A decrease in the number of skipped school days ~ An improved attitude towards school and an improvement in grades ~ An increase in future-focus activities (such as discussing career plans with an adult) ~ An increase in the number of trusting relationships with family, peers, and other adults Based on such findings, Friends for Youth is confident that our approach of long-term one-to-one mentoring, combined with ongoing staff support and services, offers the greatest opportunity for youth to benefit from a caring adult relationship. During this past year 100% of agencies served said they would recommend our Mentoring Institute services, providing an average workshop, training, and product rating of 3.8 on a 4.0 scale.
Target demographics: Mentoring Services: serves youth between the ages of 8 and 17 who live in San Mateo and northern Santa Clara Counties. These children are referred by youth professionals as being “at-risk” of not reaching their full potential due to challenges at home, at school, or in their neighborhood. Mentoring Institute: Approximately 98% of the youth served by the Mentoring Institute’s client agencies are from underserved populations similar to those served by our Mentoring Services program: foster youth, children of incarcerated parents, low-income families, or academic achievement program participants within low-income communities. Agency clients serve youth-in-need who are between the ages of 7 and 18 years of age, and provide positive and caring mentors for their youth participants in order to support their strengths and assist them in their development. While services are offered to agencies nationwide, approximately 70% are based in California. Of our California clients, nearly 60% are based in the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Our Mentoring Services program serves 150 local youth-in-need each year, being both new participants and Friendships continuing past their initial one-year commitment.
Geographic areas served: Mentoring Services: San Mateo and northern Santa Clara Counties Mentoring Institute: nationwide
Programs: Friends for Youth's Mentoring Services program matches youth-in-need with caring adult mentors in community-based one-to-one mentoring relationships. Each mentor spends a minimum of 3 hours each week with his or her mentee for at least 1 year. Our mentors are screened, trained adults who serve as positive role models. Together, the Friendship pair might choose to work on homework, visit a museum, watch a ball game, visit the mentor's workplace, or participate in an agency group activity. Staff provide ongoing, individualized support to maximize the success of each Friendship. Additional services include contact with the mentee's family, referral agent, and teacher; Mentor Groups; 3- and 12-month meetings; referrals to outside resources; and tools, such as our Academic Activity Guide. Whether they are creating tile mosaics, watching jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or attending the symphony for the first time, mentees are exposed to new opportunities for learning and growth.  Youth participants include youth between the ages of 8 and 17 who live in San Mateo and northern Santa Clara Counties. These young people are referred by teachers, counselors, probation officers, and other youth professionals for being "at-risk" of not reaching their full potential due to challenges at home, at school, or in their neighborhood. Such challenges put them at-risk of dropping out of school, committing or becoming victims of violence, using drugs or alcohol, becoming teen parents, or simply not living up to their full potential. Our racially/ethnically diverse beneficiaries live primarily in low- or very low-income households: most are single-parent homes or families where both parents are working outside the home, often at more than one job. Overall, our mentees have an additional special need: many have never flown a kite, chased waves on the beach, been to a ball game, or had experiences typically associated with youth. Our services are designed for young people who cannot access other resources because of cost, transportation, waiting lists, or challenges which make them ineligible to participate. Rather than offer broad-based services to a large number of youth, Friends for Youth offers crucial, intensive services to at-risk children most in need of resources and support.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a mentor with the Friends for Youth program for alittle over than a year. It's been great experience every step of the way. I was a bit intimidated initially because mentoring seems to be such a big responsibility/commitment. Any fears or concerns I may have had were gone the moment I began engaging with the FFY team. They run a professional and supportive program. As with most things in life, the hardest part is just getting started. I am so glad I took that first step. I am proud to be associated with this nonprofit. I can't recommend it highly enough.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

mentoring

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not make any changes

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

The mentoring services team is fabulous. They work to understand your values, passion, experience and match you appropriately with a youth. I have been with my junior friend for almost two years. It has been a positive experience for both of us. I look forward to continuing my relationship with him and helping him reach his full potential!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

they are extremely committed to their mission.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

professional, passionate, fun and engaging!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

My husband and I have been volunteers with Friends for Youth for 4+ years. They are fabulous at connecting at risk kids with appropriate mentors. These relationships give the children the opportunity to experience new and exciting things in their community that they may never had a chance to access. The training FFY provides for their mentors is very good and their screening process extremely thorough. I love this organization!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

our role as mentors.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Do more fundraising. The services are so good and so needed that its a shame not to reach more children.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The staff are fabulous and very committed to the mission and purpose of Friends for Youth. But the time we have spent with our young friend has been full of fun and exciting experiences for all of us. We have learned as much from him as he has from us.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very professional and very dedicated to their work and the children they work with. They have always been available to answer questions about best ways to be a mentor/friend.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Turn around the lives of thousands of at risk children and reach them at an earlier age when the mentoring/friendship can make the most difference in their lives.

Ways to make it better...

We could have been matched with a child earlier than the 6 months or so it took.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Being able to fill the need because of lack of volunteers and money.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Friends for Youth has been around for 25 years or so, they are obviously changing the lives of children. And they do a huge percentage of their work through volunteers which is incredible!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Friends for Youth has a model that is proven to make a difference. Mentoring works in many venues, but providing an at risk youth with a positive, caring role model really can influence whether the path chosen is productive and positive. FFY needs mentors, board members and donors, as well as corporate supporters who "get" the model and work to make it happen0.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the path chosen by the children who are mentored.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the commitment to making sure the match of mentor and mentee is right, and the support given to make sure the match survives and prospers.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

smart, committed, great listeners.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

When I heard about Friends for Youth, I was really interested in becoming a senior friend/mentor. I kept saying tomorrow, when work lets up, when my travel schedule declines, when....and then one day I it clicked....you have to make the time to reach out and help. I was matched in January with a young boy, age 9. Over the past 8 months we have formed a heartwarming relationship that is built on trust, guidance, friendship, and dependability. We both value our friendship and I can honestly say, it is good for my heart and soul.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

exceptional. The Friends for Youth staff are very professional and set the benchmark in mentoring best practices. They provide ongoing guidance, friendship activities and support.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

I have been involved with FFY for the past 10+ years as a supporter of their charitable events, Anniversary Dinner, Golf Tournament Fashion Show and as a personal donor. Mentoring is key to the success of us all and the stories of success that FFY has to tell are tremendously rewarding. It is a pleasure as a current Board Member and past President, to asscociate and make a commitment to the organization and staff.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Success rates for mentees.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

With an ED of over 25 years, I would just try to continue the momentum.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Its all about the Kids.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

God Bless this dedicated team.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Go National

Ways to make it better...

I actually was a mentor

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Taking the Safe guidelines book to a national market

One thing I'd also say is that...

I would do it all over again

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

No one would argue that having people around who believe in you, who are there for you in good and bad times, who inspire you to aim higher and achieve is critical for your success. What if you are a child and there is no one around you who could fulfill that role? Friends for Youth is an answer. They have proven that mentoring works, if it is done right. One child's dream can go from a desire to clean the planes in hopes of finding lost valuables, to owning a store in just a few months of mentoring by a person who was carefully selected. FFY's success rate is amazing because they put a lot of thought and energy into the process of selecting and training future mentors. Combining theory (mentoring institute) with practice helps FFY to be one of the best mentoring organizations. Their reputation is well deserved.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

lives of the children that are mentored.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

n/a

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the feeling that i personally can make a difference in lives of many children by participating in fundrasing and other activities.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

committed to success of each individual parnership.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help more children to achieve their greatest potential in life.

Ways to make it better...

n/a

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial hardship in uncertain economic times.

One thing I'd also say is that...

n/a

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

Friends for Youth is a jewel of an organization that has been addressing the issues of at risk kids for 30 years! Mentoring is a proven methodology for introducing and supporting healthier behaviors and lifestyles, and FFY knows how to both match mentors and mentees for the best results, and provide the practical and emotional support that facilitates the best possible experience. I am proud to be a part of this important and high impact effort.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the words of the junior friends. They speak truly and deeply of how their friendships have changed their lives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world by spreading these proven techniques and concepts to other communities and all the kids who would benefit from a true friend.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

I initially came to Friends for Youth after graduating from UC Berkeley because a friend told me about her experiences with the organization, specifically what a great time she was having with her Junior Friend (mentee). Little did I know that 19 years later, I would still be involved with the organization. After being matched with my first Junior Friend, I felt this was an amazing organization with a great mission and staff to support it. During our official year, Marvin and I visited Alcatraz, Disneyland, Lake Shasta and made many trips to the pool. I initially thought I could help Marvin improve his studies but soon learned that just spending quality time together making meals and talking about our lives would become the biggest takeaway for me. I got so much more out of the relationship than I expected because the staff did such a great job of matching me with Marvin and supporting us throughout the year. After our official year completed, we decided to continue seeing each other and Marvin slowly but surely worked himself into my family and group of friends. A few years ago, I attended a San Francisco Giants game for kids who were waiting to be matched with a Senior Friend. After an on field ceremony where Friends for Youth received an award, we were invited to watch the game in the bleachers. Shortly after the game began, one of the kids sat next to me and we had one of those conversations that people have with close friends. After the game, one of the staff members approached me about becoming a Senior Friend for a second time. A few months later, I was matched with RJ and we were off to the races. Because RJ lives close to my office at Oracle, we spent many hours at California Pizza Kitchen working our way through their pizza menu and conversations about school and life. More than half way into our official year together (and visits to the Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, more SF Giants baseball games) RJ asked if I wanted to come to his Back to School Night. I gladly accepted his invitation and had the opportunity to meet all of his teachers and school couselor. This really was a turning point in our relationship as he took the initiative to bring me into his academic life which most kids his age would not ever think to do of most adults in their lives. After learning that RJ was very interested in art and graphics, we went to the Museum of Modern Art, took a tour of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and even met with friends that work at Electronic Arts. As I have been involved with the program for quite some time, I can honestly say that this is a world class and award winning organization that really makes the difference in the lives of kids who just need to have a positive person who believes in and supports them. We are obviously doing something right as many youth organizations take advantage of our best practices through workshops facilitated by our Mentoring Institute. I am happy to give Friends for Youth five stars as they are clearly on the cutting edge of the mentoring field and continuously seem to improve on their ability to make successful matches and create long term relationships!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that they have close to a 90% success rate in the matches they make between Junior and Senior Friends

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not applicable

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being matched successfully two times with two amazing boys that have become stand up men with great character

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all role models themselves. The Senior Friends that I have met make me proud to be part of such a reputable organization. The Friends for Youth Staff's dedication to and support of the Friends for Youth mission gives me faith that there are many fantastic people in the area who would make great Senior Friends

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

really grow the Mentoring Institute so that we would be a "household name" in the mentoring field and be able to deliver even more training session and workshops to the thousands of youth organizations all over the United States.

Ways to make it better...

not applicable

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

Friends for Youth helped me discover the true meaning of mentoring. By being a mentor for over three years to an at-risk boy I was not only able to give back to the community in an enormously rewarding way, but I also learned a lot about myself, including recognizing the mentors of my own past. Friends for Youth is a great organization run by a passionate team who go through great lengths to help the at-risk youth of the San Francisco Bay Area. Successful one-on-one mentoring goes beyond pairing a responsible adult with a child, Friends for Youth has a fantastic model and great support throughout the mentorship that has resulted in amazing success rates. Friends for Youth is truly making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and society as whole. I'd encourage anyone who is considering to volunteer or donate to go with Friends for Youth.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the attitudes of children that are part of their program. Kids get an entirely new perspective on life, while they may have been sliding into dangerous territory of gangs, crime and disobedience, they now get a different perspective of their possibilities and potential.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

never stop to work hard and try to find new and innovative ways to expand the good that we can do for the community.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the joy of working with children and making a difference in the life of a child. At the same time, the volunteering experience let me be a kid again myself through all of the fun activities we did.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

a wide variety of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some of the Friends for Youth volunteers have become my good friends.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world and make it a better and safer place for kids.

Ways to make it better...

Friends for Youth had more resources to support their volunteers.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

finding the right volunteers and resources to support the organization for the long term.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Friends for Youth is doing a great job and is often under appreciated due to the lack of exposure and brand name.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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