Friends of the Children - Twin Cities will begin working with children ages 4 to 6 in Hennepin and Ramsey counties who identify as Black and Indigenous and have been impacted by systems like child welfare or the justice system. Our vision is that one day, every child in the Twin Cities area who is at highest risk of the long-term effects of childhood adversity, like foster care, will have a Friend – a long term, salaried professional mentor who stays with them from pre-school through high school graduation, 12+ years, no matter what.
Our model is distinct, courageous and proven. We revolutionized the youth mentoring field by creating the first and only long-term professional mentoring program in the country. We are experts in building sustained and nurturing relationships with youth.
This is at the core of what we do. Each child gets a dedicated, one-on-one Friend who listens to their hopes and dreams. Friends empower our youth to set – and achieve – their goals. Friends also create meaningful experiences that empower youth to build life skills and make healthy choices while exploring the child's diverse talents and interests.
Our model is real, and it works.
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, and manage; and most importantly, we use our values to change the way the world treats and views the youth and families we serve.
Put Children First
We intentionally serve youth who are facing the greatest obstacles. To help our youth discover their limitless potential, we foster their internal resiliency. We listen to our youth and base decisions on each youth’s needs and dreams. We prioritize self-care so that we bring our best selves to our work and focus on our youth.
Build Relationships on Love
We nurture long-term relationships from a foundation of love, acceptance and culturally-informed practice. We don’t give up easily and take a no matter what approach to our work. We commit for the long-term. We intentionally develop collaborative relationships over time with trust, empathy and healthy communication. We believe that we build community through one-on-one connections that are authentic, respectful and meaningful.
Commit to Empowerment
We leverage personal strengths to take ownership of our futures. We build relationships within the communities of our youth and families to strengthen social networks and provide bridges to new opportunities. We consistently inspire possibility through empathy, hard work and fun. We model all of this for our youth, families and each other.
Pursue Goals Relentlessly
We celebrate all achievements, big and small. We are disciplined in our commitment to goals, while innovative in how we reach them. We believe that the definition of success requires intentional reflection and adjustment over time. We work together and hold ourselves accountable with data to achieve short and long-term outcomes.
We acknowledge the historical and present injustices impacting marginalized communities. We demand equity from ourselves and from our community. We insist that all people have the necessary support to achieve all of their hopes and dreams. We amplify the voices of our children, families and communities. We bring together different experiences, skills and backgrounds to provide opportunities to overcome personal, systemic and institutional barriers.