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Friends for Youth, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

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.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

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.


Board Member

Rating: 5

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.