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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Family Services, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters, Housing Support, Human Services

Mission: Mission Friends Association strengthens our community by providing programs and services that prevent homelessness and promote the independence of families with children. Vision Friends Association will lead the community in eliminating homelessness for families with children so they will thrive in homes with a safe and stable environment.

Results: In the last year we served: Emergency Shelter: 26 Families experiencing homelessness receive shelter and services to access permanent housing 50 Children Served 34 Adults Served 97% of families moving to permanent housing Homeless Prevention Program: 45 Families have episode of potential homelessness resolved and achieve self-sufficiency 77 Children Served 50 Adults Served 92% of families maintaining permanent housing at program completion Outreach to Homeless Families: 25 families experiencing homelessness receive assistance to access shelter or permanent housing. 60 Children Served 35 Adults Served 100% of families accessing either shelter or permanent housing

Target demographics: prevent homelessness for families!

Direct beneficiaries per year: 56 families; 107 children; provided information and referral services to over 400 families in need

Geographic areas served: Chester County Pennsylvania

Programs: Emergency Family Shelter: 6 apartments for families experiencing literal homelessness. Our Shelter program combines a private, safe setting and basic necessities with effective, individualized case management services for homeless families with children. We strive to keep parents and children together as they work toward becoming stable and productive in their homes, jobs, and schools. Homeless Prevention Program: We help families with children find or maintain safe, permanent housing. Our program balances strong case management services with financial assistance, when needed, for families coming from a shelter or those facing eviction. Our goal is to help families become independent within 12 to 18 months. The Outreach to Homeless Families Program was created to provide immediate help to Homeless Families that had not had help previously. Families are referred to Friends Association through ConnectPoints and a case manager immediately begins working with families to assist them in accessing emergency benefits, housing coordination and employment assistance.

Community Stories

35 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 briselrc

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a regular volunteer with Friends Association for more than 4 years. My role is varied, but mostly in assisting the organization to realize an increase in funding through marketing and data analyses. As a small non-profit, I’ve been very impressed how well they use data in their strategic planning and budgeting. Their model of helping clients (families with children), through temporary shelter and support for more permanent living is critical in Chester County. Furthermore, they provide additional help and contacts in enabling skill attainment with many of their clients, and also work with landlords to stem the onset of homelessness. I’ve never been disappointed with my time spent to further their cause, including direct client interaction.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve volunteered with Friends for more than 3 years, assisting in various ways and donating money and goods. Their hard-working staff is small but wonderful, and their work of addressing family homelessness in Chester County is critically needed. Their work has resulted in helping more and more families in need each year, and making a significant difference in the lives of children who have been impacted by homelessness.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Friends Association for two years now, it has been nothing less than a wonderful experience. My first summer working at Friends Association, I learned a lot about all the amazing work Friends does for our community. Working around others who are so passionate about this non-profit organization taught me so much about giving back to my community in any way that I can.
Now I have been given an opportunity to intern with the Friends Association to receive college credits. While this has been a big help to me, I am even more grateful for another opportunity to extend a helping hand in anyway that I can. Friends Association will be an organization that I will always appreciate and continue to contribute to because of all the important life lessons and experience I have gained.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've only been working with the Friends Association for a couple month and it has been nothing less than a wonderful experience. I never realized how uneducated I was about the topic surrounding homelessness, especially in my hometown. Through these last couple months I have not only learned a great deal about the amazing role Friends plays in helping families move out of and forward from the hard times they've been experiencing; I have also had the opportunity to help out and contribute to all the hard work the agency does day to day. During my time here, I have been able to observe the amazing passion and work ethic everyone puts toward the goal of ending homelessness.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends has been a great place to volunteer. The organization makes a noticeable impact everyday. The staff, volunteers and clients are all wonderful

Naveena V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It’s been a year since I started working with Friends Association. As a volunteer content writer for their newsletter and website, I had the opportunity to interact with clients, staff and fellow volunteers. While the stories are vastly different for each, a common blanket of love binds all. During my time here, I have been fortunate to write stories about the inspiring lives of clients, who have fought the biggest adversities of their lives with help from the expert counselling of the staff at Friends. I have seen the resilience among the kids, whose families are struggling to make ends meet. And I have seen the passion, and the laser-sharp focus among the staff, who truly believe in their hearts that if they all put in their best, they can end homelessness in Chester County. I am glad to be able to contribute my tiny bit towards this mission. I am glad to be able to see families grow, prosper and in turn provide a safe and happy environment for the future generation.

Susan C.11

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children works hard in the community to raise awareness, not only of their services, but also of the success stories of their clients.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a high school senior and I have enjoyed helping with Friends Association Childrens' Holiday Party for 8 years now. I love doing the crafts with the kids and it is such a well organized party. Friends Association does a wonderful job getting the families to the party and making it exciting. I especially loved a sweet little girl last year who made a card for Santa full of stickers and pictures. I have also enjoyed getting to know all the Friends Association staff. They are wonderful to volunteer for!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I followed the work of Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children for many years knowing that one day I would volunteer my services. That time came in the Fall of 2018 when I asked "How can I help?". As a volunteer I have a unique behind the scenes view of the dedication, commitment and hard-work of each staff member and every volunteer in serving the children and families of our Community. The Leadership team is exceptional in their ability to expand the reach and services of the organization through State and Local political and economic support, services provided to children and families, building and sustaining Community Partnerships and aligning the interest and talent of dedicated volunteers, students and interns to drive the mission and vision of Friends. It is truly a labor of love and it shows in everything Friends and it's supporters bring to the table each day. This is a very worthwhile organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Chester County through the services and support it provides to our Community. I am proud to be a part of this important and critical work stabilizing children and families and providing them opportunity to grow and thrive.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Friends Association for over ten years . During this time I have seen the impact of Friends on the homeless families in our community. By providing immediate response to the needs of the families with shelter, counseling services and rental assistance , Friends sets them on the path to stable housing and independence. The entire staff is involved both professionally and emotionally on a day to day basis with the adults and children and develop a relationship with all that have come for help. It is the reason I stay involved with grant research and fundraisers to help assist in a small way with their work for those less fortunate in our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Friends Association for almost 7 years. I have worked with them in many capacities, starting as an Intern, I continued to volunteer with them. The work they do is amazing. Not only do they have innovative programs such as their outreach program, but they do so much more for families facing homelessness. They have back to school drives for the children and holiday drives. Friends Association gives the families they work with dignity and respect. They truly change people's lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Friends Association for almost a year now and I was both impressed and inspired by the people, services and programs provided to our community by this organization. There is a lot of hard work and compassion that the dedicated professionals strive to provide for the numerous homeless families that come through their door. Friends Association provides shelter for families with children find and maintain permanent housing. Although Chester County is one of the wealthiest counties in Pennsylvania the number of homeless families continues to rise. The success stories of the families that have been helped by Friends Association is truly heart warming. I am proud to be associated with such a fine organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends Association helps the most vulnerable population, homeless children and their families. The small staff devote all of their time and energy to reaching and supporting as many clients as possible, getting them off the streets, out of cars and into a stable home together. I am part of the dedicated volunteer network that aids staff, clients and the mission of Friends. The opportunities to use your specific strengths and gifts are endless and at the end of the day you can see first hand what a difference you are making. I would highly recommend supporting friends in whatever capacity you are able, because this organization ensures a lifelong impact for the better to every client, volunteer and staff member.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends Association opened their arms and hearts to me from the moment I handed in my volunteer application. Every corner you turn in their quaint building on Chesnut street you are met by another smiling face dedicated to making this community a better place for both those striving and struggling in it. So far as a volunteer I have been involved in fundraising as well as community outreach efforts. Every new project I undertake with Friends I am excited for the opportunity to be connected with their other passionate volunteers. This entire organization fosters a community of caring, sharing and impacting lives. Their comprehensive programs truly are life saving for the families they are able to reach. I find myself telling anyone who will listen about my fulfilling experience with Friends and spreading their mission of working to prevent and end family homelessness. I am proud to be a part of this incredible team of staff, board and volunteers and am confident we will continue to extend our reach further into our vibrant Chester County community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MLK day years ago I was looking for a nonprofit to take my whole family to participate in a "day on" and I decided to look in my own back yard - West Chester borough. When I plugged in my location Friends Association popped up and I was able to sign all of us up to help. It was a day that my family will never forget - we worked together and it was a great way for my children to see that life sometimes throws curve balls to people. Fast forward to 2018 and my children and I have gone back a number of times to help out and I volunteer on a semi-regular basis throughout the year. I am constantly in awe of the way the staff and volunteers of Friends Association live out their mission, not only on paper and big events but in the day to day workings which mean so much to so many families. Their genuine belief in the good of, and the good for, all is evident in all they do and say. They not only show respect to the clients and families but as a volunteer I always feel respected and appreciated - which is why I keep coming back.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Living in one of the richest counties in Pennsylvania, the existence of so many families in need was a rude awakening to someone living here for many years. I have volunteered with Friends Association for over ten years and am still awed by the continuing dedication & work ethic of the staff to help the families who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. I have met women where circumstances , beyond their control, have changed their lives & those of their children in a moment - that could be me or anyone. The impact to eumployment , schooling , social services & self esteem that Friends takes on with their mission is inspiring. I have seen the success storie, the appreciation of their clients for the opportunities given and the hope for a better future. This is what motivates volunteers like myself to help Friends make a difference for those disadvantaged families living in our midst. .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love these people. Helping homeless families get back on their feet in Chester County, PA. Such lovely people doing such amazing work.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love Friends Association because they have a excellent shelter where parents with dependent children have a place to call home, and not live with the stigma of being ashamed of being homeless.
The shelter is very clean and volunteers are always painting, fixing anything in the apartments and working outside in the yard to make it look beautiful. I take pride in keeping my apartment clean daily because that is how beautiful my apartment looked when I first moved in.
Staff at Friends go out of their way to Help everyone at any time and in every way that they can for All residents who live in the shelter.
Friends will forever be in my Prayers now that I am no longer homeless.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Friends every summer since 2014 and I'm glad I did. All the people I've worked with have been amazing and I've learned so much in the past four years!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer in many different positions for Friends. I love being able to help homeless families in my communities. Friends has provided me opportunities to do meaningful work in my hometown. They are a very friendly and helpful staff. I enjoy working with them!

Donor

Rating: 5

For years, we have worked with the charity to raise funds. They are welcoming and caring for those in need. It could not be for a better cause or have better people working towards it.

Brendan P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Friends Association is a very special organization surrounded by people who care about the services they provide. I work for a major paint corporation and we partner with this organization for our community paint projects because of the support they give to our local community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love working for Friends association. When a client calls to ask for help and I am able to offer support and a list of resources, it feels good to know that person appreciates the help and information I am able to provide. Sometimes we are the one call that made a huge impact in the person's life and sometimes we are only able to give suggestions but the clients always appreciate that we offer support in a time of need.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends Association does amazing work in our community. I've had the privilege of volunteering for the past 2 years and have had the opportunity to experience the behind the scenes work that goes on daily.
Families come to Friends often embarrassed about their situation and afraid of what may happen to them and their children. They are treated with kindness, compassion and respect with their immediate needs accessed and worked through whether that means a temporary hotel stay or arranging transportation.
What works best with this amazing organization is the ongoing help and education that Friends does with the families. They don't simply meet their immediate needs. They work with the families to teach them the life skills they are lacking in areas that will prevent future homelessness.
The staff is dedicated, caring and sensitive in all that they do. They are more than just employees of Friends. They are passionate about the mission and the part they each play in it. And, it shows in how they care for and sacrificially give in our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children is a wonderful organization that helps prevent homelessness! I started volunteering back in 2014 and was interviewed thoroughly by Robin Meixner (Development Director). I could tell she loved helping people and was excited for me to join her organization. I have done clerical work, cleaned the headquarters and a homeless apartment and volunteered twice for the West Chester Charity Ball with Catherine Friedman (Executive Director) and several other volunteers and staff. I look forward to upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for a number of organizations in the past and I have to say Friends Association is the best. It is an organization that puts their client's needs before anything else and the quickness with which they find housing and supplies for families in need is unprecedented. Their success stories are heartwarming and it makes me proud to be part of an organization whose number one goal is to keep families in tact and find permanent housing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to Friends Association for the Care and Protection of Children as an Intern From West Chester University. I have had the opportunity to gain Social work experience as well as Public health experience and applying my degree to the non-profit organization I am pleased to have had this summer to intern at this amazing place.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children has been nothing but wonderful. Friends Association is extremely flexible when it comes to volunteer availability, which is perfect for me because I have a busier schedule during the school year.

As soon as I started working at Friends Association, I found that the staff genuinely cares about the volunteers; they are always happy to see me, they always ask how I am doing, and they truly want to connect with me as a person. I feel that the work I do at Friends Association is important and helpful not only to Friends Association but also to the rest of the community, and the staff is always appreciative of the work I do.

Working at Friends Association gives me a break from school work and gives me opportunities to grow in ways that school and other volunteer opportunities couldn't.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Friends is filled with extraordinary, persistent, hard working indivuals who show the utmost care, and compassion. They don't judge, they are truly there to help and have your best interest at heart. As far as improvements go, I really don't have anything! They go above and beyond while juggling their own everyday lives. They inspire people to do better for themselves when they are at some of the lowest points in their lives and have lost all hope.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Friends Association for nearly three years now and it's been a fabulous opportunity to give back to the community. I help write and mail out the monthly client newsletter working closely with Rob Henry. When I first started volunteering, my own life was in a rocky and uncertain stage. I went out of my comfort zone and with encouragement from Robin Meixner, I found out that helping others usually leads to helping yourself.
There is a closeness here at Friends Association and a real sense of gratitude and appreciation. Just last month Amy Descovich organized a wonderful volunteer appreciation open house. There was delicious food, great conversation and a chance to meet and mingle with other volunteers. There are so many families struggling and in need and I feel honored to be a part of The Friends Association solution. The goal is to help families get back on their feet. Providing emergency housing is definitely a big part of the equation, but by also teaching the clients life skills such as budgeting and finding a job, Friends Association is able to help create a sense of pride and independence for the clients. I know I am not only needed, but also very much appreciated by the staff at Friends Association.
The laughter and light heartedness here at Friends Association makes volunteering easy and I'm happy to be a part of the Friends family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at Friends Association about 3 1/2 years ago, because I am Quaker and service is important to me. The shelter's mission spoke to my heart. I most enjoy spending time with the family I mentor, helping them make a better path for themselves, and seeing them change.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the last 9 years the Pajama Buddy Program has provided filled pajama bags to children in area shelters. Twice a year, we deliver these bags once around Christmas and once in the spring usually near Mothers's day.

Several years ago before Mothers Day, the director of one of the shelters asked if I had pajamas for the mothers as well as the children. I collect and fill these bags for distribution in my home so filling around 75 to 100 bags for children can be quite a chaotic chore. Truthfully adding moms to the list wasn't something I was eager to do. But I asked the director to send me the sizes she needed and I'd see what I could do.She emailed me the list of 11, with sizes ranging from small/petite to xxxl! I groaned internally and looked through my inventory when eventually I spotted a bag on the floor in a corner. This bag contained 12 woman size pajamas and in that bag I had every size I needed from small/petite to XXXL!I couldn't believe that I had all those sizes with one to spare! I called it my Mother's Day Miracle. I don't always get women's sizes donated to me, but when I do, I happily include them.

I wish all the women, children and families who find themselves in shelters will find peace and happiness

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Many years ago I was invited to a Friends cocktail party fundraiser where I learned what great work Friends was doing in West Chester and I have been involved ever since with the West Chester Charity Ball as a fundraiser for Friends for over 12 years. When I retired 5 years ago, I was offered an opportunity to help out in doing research for grant money for Friends. I love the idea that what little I can contribute benefits the community where I live, especially for women and children in need.

I have learned so much about homelessness and its impact in our area. It is not all that we see on the streets or see in the media. As a mother, the stories of the families with their children and their struggles breaks your heart . But to see the help and support - financially, emotionally and socially that Friends provides to these families and see the many, many positive outcomes , you cannot help but be moved. I also love working with the wonderful women and men who are part of this organization and am awed by their devotion and commitment.

Samantha80

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends Association was a great fit for me. I was able to use skills I already had to help the staff with their digital efforts while learning and developing new skills by helping them. They work really hard at their jobs to make to community stronger.

Review from Guidestar

Robin145

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Friends Association helped me understand homelessness and how I could make a difference. I can't help every person but I can treat them all with dignity. The three programs at Friends Association allows families to navigate from sleeping in their car, to shelter, to stable and then permanent, affordable housing.