Friends for Youth, Inc.
August 19, 2008
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
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
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...
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I was a Senior Friend and Volunteer Counselor and am currently on the Board of Directors.