Friends of the Children Central Oregon connects children – all of whom have unique talents – to a paid, professional mentor called a Friend. We hire and train Friends whose full-time jobs are to support our youth to succeed, despite the extremely challenging situations most experience, from as early as age 4 through high school graduation – 12+ years, no matter what. 100% of our youth live in poverty and have experienced significant trauma before entering kindergarten.
Nationally we have redefined youth mentoring by creating the first and only long-term professional mentoring program in the country. Our Friends are experts in building sustained and nurturing relationships with youth. Our model is evidence-informed and research-based, and we have proven long-term outcomes to show it works:
- 83% earn a high school diploma/GED; though >60% have a parent who did not have the support to complete high school
- 93% avoid juvenile justice; though 50% have a parent impacted by criminal justice
- 98% avoid early parenting; though 85% were born to a teen parent
- 92% go on to post-secondary education, serve our country, or find employment
Each day, our Friends advocate and help amplify the voices of our youth and their families who often become voiceless in the midst of the systemic failures. By challenging the status quo, we also help shift the way institutions and systems view and treat our youth and their families. Friends also create meaningful experiences that teach youth to build life skills and make informed decisions while exploring the child’s diverse talents and interests.
Our model is real, and it works.