Breakfast with Friends
Wednesday from 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM EDT
Impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what.
Our values guide us to achieve our mission. Each value applies not only to our youth, Friends and program teams, but also applies to all Friends of the Children employees, volunteers and partners. We use our values to make informed decisions; to hire, coach, manage; and most importantly, we use our values to change the way the world treats and views the youth and families we serve.
WHO WE ARE
Friends of the Children–Tampa Bay (Friends–Tampa Bay) selects children ages 4–6 directly from the foster care system and high-poverty schools in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. We then pair them with a salaried, professional mentor (a Friend) who acts as a "life navigator", staying with them from kindergarten through graduation – 12+ years, no matter what.
Our Friends build trusting, long-term relationships that empower youth and parents to realize their full potential and change their stories. Our independent, local chapter is part of the Friends of the Children national network which serves thousands of children across the country.
Our youth live in unstable family situations that make it very difficult for them to stay on track in school and in life. All of our youth have experienced abuse or neglect. The majority of our youth have experienced parental substance abuse and mental health challenges, domestic violence, parental incarceration, housing instability and/or homelessness. Youth in our program are significantly affected by multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs); 86% experience more than three risk indicators, and over half experience six or more.
Friends–Tampa Bay employs experienced, full-time, salaried professionals who help youth navigate each life setting, spending 4 hours every week with each of their youth in school and in the community.
Friends are trauma-informed; supporting school success, teaching valuable life skills, and helping youth grow into responsible adults. Friends also support parents and caregivers, empowering them to self-advocate within local systems and connecting them to local resources.
Friends of the Children–Tampa Bay is part of a national network of Friends of the Children chapters across the United States. Friends of the Children 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.
Our model is distinct, courageous and proven. We redefined youth mentoring by creating the first and only long-term professional mentoring program in the country. 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.
This is at the core of what we do. 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.
Join us on Wednesday, April 27th 2021 at 8:00 AM (Registration starts at 7:15 AM) to learn more about our model and the impact we are having on the Tampa Bay community.