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44 Ne Morris
Oregon 97212

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Target demographics: For nearly twenty years, Friends of the Children has searched for the most vulnerable children in our community and invited them to enroll in our program. We do this by partnering with elementary schools located in neighborhoods characterized by high levels of poverty and crime. Every spring we spend six weeks interacting with kindergarteners at these schools in order to find the children who will benefit the most from having a Friend in their lives.

Direct beneficiaries per year: We currently serve 400 youth, grades K-12, in the Portland metro area.

Geographic areas served: Portland Metropolitan Area

Programs: Friends of the Children is an innovative program that fills the gap between what children deserve, and what life has dealt them. Our program profoundly alters the course of vulnerable children’s lives by giving them something that every child needs – a stable, long-term relationship with an adult who believes in their ability to succeed. Friends serves 400 youth, each of whom lives in difficult circumstances that severely threaten their chances of achieving high school graduation. Our youth not only live with the daily struggles experienced in low-income households, but face additional challenges like the pain of watching a parent struggle with drug addiction, or the devastation of being physically or emotionally abused.

Friends of the Children provides these youth with paid, professional mentors whose only job is to ensure the wellbeing of the youth they are matched with. Youth spend an average of 16 hours/month with their Friends, working on academic skills, practicing hobbies, and doing fun activities in the community. The long-term nature of these Friend/child relationships allows our mentors to have a profound effect on the life of each child.

Friends of the Children provides our community's most vulnerable children a stable relationship with a professional mentor - a Friend - for 12 1/2 years, from kindergarten to high school graduation. 12 1/2 years. No matter what.
Despite the considerable challenges they face, graduates of Friends of the Children overwhelmingly succeed in breaking destructive generational cycles. 85% have earned a high school diploma or GED, though half have a parent who did not complete high school. 97% of program youth have avoided the juvenile justice system, though 60% have parents who have been incarcerated. 98% have avoided early parenting, though nearly two-thirds were born to a teen parent.

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My husband and I are very impressed by the successes of Friends of the Children. Upon coming into the program in kindergarten or first grade, each child is guaranteed a mentor for the next twelve years. At the Friendraiser each May, we hear about the accomplishments of children in the program. FOC ... more »
My husband and I have been amazed to hear about the impact Friends of Children has had on the children in the program. We attend the annual fundraiser for FOC and listen quietly to the stories of each child. They have been the given the chance they never had...the chance to learn and grow into ... more »
Friends of the Children works. It has demonstrated results which clearly show the program keeps kids out of jail, avoiding pregnancy and finishing high school to become productive and self sufficient members of our community. I have yet to see any other program targeting "at-risk" youth with such ... more »
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