Friends of the Children-Portland

Rating: 5 stars   10 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth

Location: 44 Ne Morris Portland OR 97212 USA

Mission: 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.
Results: Despite the considerable challenges they face, graduates of Friends of the Children overwhelmingly succeed in breaking destructive generational cycles. 83% have earned a high school diploma or GED, though 60% have a parent who did not complete high school. 97% of program youth have avoided the juvenile justice system, though 50% have parents who have been incarcerated. 98% have avoided early parenting, though 85% were born to a teen parent.
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 425 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.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

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 has a high percentage of children who stay in school, avoid teen parenthood and stay out of the criminal justice system. Last summer I volunteered for the summer reading program and was very pleased to observe and be a small part of a well organized program that helps at-risk children.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I'm a supporter of Friends of the Children. As a parent and former teacher I appreciate the stability and support a group can add to a child's life. Having a long term "friend" who can help both academically and emotionally makes a huge difference for children who do not have a strong support system.

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

I attend the annual Friend Raiser benefit and see many of the young people and hear about them from their very proud "Friends"

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

I don't know of anything I would change.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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 people who will go on to not only succeed but to contribute their vast array of skills to the betterment of our communities. Friends of Children knows that we can't afford to lose these kids-the leaders and dreamers of our future.

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

From first hand accounts by children who've gone through the programs operated by FOC.

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

Give it more money!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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 results.

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

I have personally seen the results of this organization in my interactions with its participants and graduates.

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

If I could change anything, it would be to find a way to serve more youth.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer and board member for Friends of the Children Portland for 8 years. This organizations delivers in a very real fashion. Kids in the program avoid the justice system, avoid teen parenting and graduate from high school ready to become productive members of our society. A Harvard lead study indicates a 7X return on every dollar invested in Friends. There is no better investment than our youth. Friends WORKS!

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

both through the stories of the children Friends serves, but also through rigorous independent studies which verify the effectiveness.

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

the only change I would make is to find and secure a long term, stable funding stream to make sure this great organization has the resources it needs to serve all of the children who would benefit from a Friend.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I attend several charity events. This event is the one I most look forward to attending. Over the years, I have met the most wonderful people with the best interest of the children at heart.

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

Only by the amazing people I have met.

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

Not change a thing!

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Rating: 5 stars  

we have personally seen the great results produced by FOTC but watching one of the kids from program in his high school environment where I was a teacher. The programs ideas and follow through are excellent.

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

Seeing one of the kids from the program in high school

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

none

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Rating: 5 stars  

A good friend and strong supporter of Friends of the Children introduced me to this program five years ago. Since then I have been able to make small contributions to this program and am always absolutely amazed at how many children are helped and steered into being productive contributing members of society. Most if not all of the children in this program have come from backgrounds that predict failure for them. Those children are able to succeed because of the mentoring they receive.

I feel it is one of the best if not the best program to help children out of a dead end area of society into achieving a useful and full filling life.

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

By attending the Friend Raiser and by meeting some of the children and their mentors.

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

None

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Rating: 5 stars  

It is easy for me to see why Friends of the Children has been recognized as a model organization in the field of childhood development.

My own background helps me recognize the challenges that result from a childhood with an unhealthy or unwholesome family environment. My observations have shown to me the importance of positive intervention and continuous support for such a child, starting at an early age.

The success of the Friends of the Children approach is readily seen in the children presently in the program as well as graduates who are grown and are achieving success as adults.

The keys appear to be these:
1st - A comprehensive method of operation, evolving over time, resulting in an outstanding record.
2nd - A staff and mentors (Friends) with a single-minded obsession to make it work.
3rd - The support of the community. Educators, schools and colleges, committee members, donors, volunteers and the business community have all joined in to assist FOTC in the effort.
4th - The love for all children as exemplified by the efforts of the entire organization.

My choice has been to make Friends of the Children the very core of my giving. It makes me proud to do so.

Donald W. Carlson - (retired from business)

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

As a multi-year donor and volunteer I've witnessed the growth and change in many of the children in the program. One young lady we met as a 6th grader has become an assured young woman who is finishing her second year of college on a scholarship. Meeting the mentors and seeing their dedication is a profound experience.

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

This model is so proficient in achieving the record of success that I can only hope that many other areas in our country can join the effort by starting a Friends of the Children organization in their communities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

(I'm writing as an Advisor to Friends of the Children - Portland. I'm also a Donor, an incoming Board Member, and I'm a professional with expertise in a related field.)

I have watched Friends of the Children through several lenses. FOTC looks great through all of them.

1) I was on a volunteer team from the Community Partners program of the Harvard Business School Association of Oregon. We quantified the "social ROI" [return on investment] that FOTC generates, for society as a whole and for the individuals who go through the program. We estimated that FOTC creates a benefit for society and individuals of seven times its cost. That is awesome.

2) I have gotten to know key executives at FOTC. I've seen first-hand their dedication to the children and to operational excellence and integrity.

3) And I've seen many of the children currently in the program. You would never know they come from such at-risk backgrounds. FOTC's care and guidance has given these kids an awesome opportunity to become happy, prosperous, well-adjusted members of society, and has given our community citizens who will play a positive role in our future.

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

My analysis of their results, and the smiles I see on the faces of the children they mentor.

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

Help it grow!

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