YouthFriends

Imagine the impact of 3,200 volunteer mentors. In schools. Making the difference for kids. It happens. Every day with YouthFriends. YouthFriends volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, yet they share one thing in common: a commitment to help young people succeed. YouthFriends is a nationally recognized and rapidly growing school-based mentoring network involving more than 70 school districts across the states of Missouri and Kansas. YouthFriends Greater Kansas City currently comprises more than 29 school districts in the bi-state Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. It is the result of a six-school district pilot launched by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 1995. Th...

YouthFriends
1740 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
United States
816-268-5912
http://www.youthfriends.org

Board of Directors

Norris Laura, Sandie Mullen, Bill Steilen

Project Leaders

Beth Carolan

Mission

Imagine the impact of 3,200 volunteer mentors. In schools. Making the difference for kids. It happens. Every day with YouthFriends. YouthFriends volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, yet they share one thing in common: a commitment to help young people succeed. YouthFriends is a nationally recognized and rapidly growing school-based mentoring network involving more than 70 school districts across the states of Missouri and Kansas. YouthFriends Greater Kansas City currently comprises more than 29 school districts in the bi-state Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. It is the result of a six-school district pilot launched by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 1995. The field experience gained from the pilot led to the development of a complete operating system to assist future school district partners. Ongoing input from YouthFriends school district personnel, volunteers, parents and students continues to shape and refine the initiative. Mission YouthFriends connects students, teachers and schools with inspiring mentors and real-world learning experiences to promote success, encourage healthy behaviors and build stronger communities. Vision An engaged community helping young people to succeed. Guiding Principles The best youth development efforts strengthen community and encourage all to participate. Schools, as community focal points, are ideal locations to link young people with caring adults. At its core, YouthFriends is about engaging communities to help young people succeed by engaging adults in volunteerism with youth. COMPELLING MISSION YouthFriends, in partnership with school districts, connects young people with caring adult volunteers in schools to promote success, encourage healthy behaviors and build stronger communities. STRONG IMPACT Independent evaluations show that students with YouthFriends demonstrate improvements in academics, behavior, attitudes toward themselves and others and connectedness to school-an important predictor of graduation rates. YouthFriends school-based mentoring not only changes outcomes for individual students, classrooms, schools and the broader community. IMPRESSIVE SCALE YouthFriends partners with more than 29 school districts across the Greater Kansas City area. As a result of YouthFriends support, these districts have: Annual Cumulative Screened, Trained and Placed Mentors 3,259 20,425 Young People Served (one-to-one | small groups) 17,139 288,043 Volunteer Hours 74,491 993,267 Value of Volunteer Hours $1,553,135 $18,369,969 EXCELLENT COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Demonstrating the concept that youth development belongs to the entire community Promoting structured and meaningful community engagement Matching community and volunteer interests with specific school district needs Providing additional connections for business and community partnerships

Programs

What YouthFriends Volunteers Do Being a YouthFriends volunteer is an important service. But it's the simple things that make volunteering with YouthFriends so rewarding. It's the simple things young people really want from adults. Sharing common interests Someone to talk to Doing things together or just hanging out Through YouthFriends, volunteers are linked with students, ages 5-18, with shared interests like a special hobby, music, sports, reading or computers. Or sometimes a volunteer works with a student who needs some extra attention. It's Fun As a YouthFriends volunteer you might read with a first grader, share lunch with a new friend, help seventh graders with a special project or offer career guidance to a high school senior. YouthFriends are good role models, they enjoy young people, they're good listeners, but most of all they know how to be a friend. It's Flexible YouthFriends accommodates the busy schedules of today's volunteers. Volunteer with a group of students or one-to-one Choose the age groups you enjoy Select a school location close to home or work Commit to as little as one hour a week for a semester, a school year or more It Makes a Difference Studies show the presence of a positive adult role model in a young person's life: Builds confidence Encourages students to set and achieve goals Helps young people succeed YouthFriends e-Mentoring is an easy way to help students substantially improve reading, writing and computer skills while showing increased interest in their schoolwork. Volunteer e-Mentors work with students by communicating through the Internet. Exchanging weekly messages gives students and adult e-Mentor volunteers the opportunity to spend time together online while students practice new skills and experience enhanced learning. YouthFriends e-Mentors help students learn to improve writing skills and explore careers, while discussing common interests related to academics. By reading and responding to student messages, e-Mentors assist with assigned projects that help connect schoolwork to the real world. e-Mentoring takes about 30 minutes a week (usually for a semester) and is under the guidance of classroom teachers. All communications with students are written in the easy-to-use, password protected MentorMail internet tool. Students and e-Mentors usually have at least one face-to-face meeting during their e-Mentoring project. Students Mentoring Students Young People Volunteering with Kids YouthFriends Corps connects elementary students with caring, qualified high school volunteers at elementary schools to encourage healthy behaviors, promote successful outcomes and build stronger communities. The goal of YouthFriends Corps is to: Provide elementary school students with high school role models Provide eligible high school students who desire to make a difference in the life of a younger student the opportunity to do so Promote community service in youth-building future volunteers through YouthFriends Corps YouthFriends Corps Job Description Volunteer an average of one hour a week for a minimum of eight weeks Be a good listener Provide encouragement, support and friendship to an elementary student to develop the confidence necessary to succeed in school through a tutoring or mentoring relationship Have a sincere desire to make a difference in the life of a youth by working closely with an elementary student What's Expected of YouthFriends Corps Members? 3.0 GPA (2.5 GPA minimum requirement) Good attendance record Good citizenship Appropriate dress and language; model good behavior Clearance from high school principal or school administrator for participation in YouthFriends Corps Two recommendations (one from school staff member, one from someone in the community) Return parent permission form and release to drive/travel, if applicable Attendance in training session and initial school building orientation Participation in evaluation with building liaison or classroom teacher YouthFriends, in cooperation with the North Kansas City and Shawnee Mission School Districts, is piloting an exciting new mentoring model: Learning Across Languages. Learning Across Languages will benefit one of our most vulnerable populations, our youngest and newest citizens. English Language Learning (ELL) students nationwide-and across the metro area-face huge obstacles to academic success. In fact, while ELL students are the fastest-growing segment of the student population, they also are among the country's lowest-performing students. Nearly two-thirds live in poverty and are trying quickly to learn a new language while adjusting in school and in their communities. Learning Across Languages will give ELL students the personalized attention that can only be achieved through one-to-one, supportive mentoring matches. Research shows that mentoring a young person can help them gain the skills they need for life-long self-sufficiency.

Statistics on YouthFriends