The Generational Change Model

Research has shown that the single most important factor for building resiliency in children who face the highest risks is a long-term, consistent relationship with a caring adult.

The Model
ONE

We select the children facing the highest risks.

Our children are statistically at serious risk of continuing the cycle of poverty in their own lives.

  • 60% have parents who did not have the support necessary to graduate high school. 
  • 50% have parents who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.
  • 85% have parents who started parenting during their teen years. 
TWO

We employ and train salaried, professional mentors called Friends.

Moving mentorship out of the volunteer realm is a key component to getting the quality, consistency and commitment that our children need. Several of our Friends have been with us for 20 years; the average tenure is over 5 years.

THREE

We commit for the long term.

We commit to every child for the long term, from kindergarten through graduation. 12+ years. No matter what.

FOUR

We focus on the complete transformation of each child.

Each child gets a dedicated, one-on-one Friend who spends a minimum of 16 intentional hours per month with them. We develop a roadmap for each child and design activities to build life skills. We create meaningful experiences to explore each child’s unique talents and interests. Friends of the Children has developed nine research-based Core Assets, which are specific qualities we focus on to ensure the social and emotional development of our youth. 

FIVE

We work in and with the child's community.

Friends spend time in each child’s home, school, neighborhood, and community. They are able to provide continuity in these often unstable environments and serve as a link between the different facets of the child’s life. This means we advocate for children at their school and become someone their family trusts in emergencies.

SIX

We evaluate, measure, and improve.

We are in an ongoing longitudinal randomized control trial conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of Washington, Princeton University, and University of Oregon. We are also assessed annually by an independent third-party evaluator. This allows us to continue to identify ways to make our program stronger.

Core Assets

Friends of the Children has developed nine research-based Core Assets, which are specific qualities we focus on to ensure the social and emotional development of our youth. With our nine Core Assets in place, we believe our youth will enter adulthood with a solid foundation for future success.

Growth Mindset


I love learning and know that my abilities will improve through dedication and effort.

Belonging


I understand who I am, have a place where I feel accepted, and know that my contributions count.

Hope


When I have tough times, I believe it can get better.

Problem Solving


I know how to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision.

Perseverance & Grit


I work hard through challenges and finish what I start.

Self Management


I know how to manage my feelings and take care of myself in a healthy way.

Self Determination


I believe in myself and am able to set goals and achieve them.

Find Your Spark


I use creativity to explore my passions.

Positive Relationship Building


I get along well with others and am able to find people to support me.

A Friend in Action

We call our professional mentors "Friends" because it isn't just a job. They are forming meaningful relationships with our youth that last for years. This could look like:

  • Helping a child's math skills by counting successful free throws
  • Helping a child find constructive outlets for stress and frustration
  • Advocating for a special education service at a child's middle school
  • Being the consistent adult in a child's life as they move from placement to placement in the foster care system

Often, the Friend is the only person the family calls when a crisis occurs.

It makes economic sense.

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The Harvard Business School Association of Oregon showed that for every $1 invested in Friends of the Children, the community benefits over $7 in saved social costs. Helping one child saves the community $900,000.

Read more about our Return on Investment

It Works