For more than 25 years, Friends of the Children has been impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors for 12+ years, no matter what. With our two-generation approach, we are leveraging our proven model to impact generational change for both youth and caregivers.
Caregivers have told us that what they need to achieve their hopes and dreams are people who believe in their power, potential and contributions. They've told us that trusting, long-term relationships with Friends empower change across generations – for both themselves and their children.
The youth and families we serve are resilient in the face of systemic and institutional barriers: systems that are inequitable, unfair and working against them at every turn. Those systems, and the resulting trauma they create, negatively impact both our youth and their caregivers, which is why Friends of the Children is adopting a two-generation approach.
Emerging research shows when a child does better, a parent does better and vice versa.
As we continue to build Core Assets, collaboratively set goals and empower youth to meet long-term outcomes, our 2Gen approach leverages the power of the Friend relationship with caregivers to support them to meet their own goals as caregivers. We do this by:
SUPPORTING caregivers to understand their child's needs and strengths
EQUIPPING caregivers with social and emotional learning skills
PROMOTING self-advocacy within complex systems, like education and child welfare
CONNECTING families to concrete supports, and
CREATING opportunity for peer-to-peer and community connections
Accountability for results is in the Friends of the Children DNA. After 12+ years with a Friend, we want caregivers to be able to say that their families are more stable, that their relationship with their child is stronger and that they see themselves as contributors with strong ties to the community.
In just two years since implementing our 2Gen approach, caregivers have reported that Friends of the children has helped them with:
Stronger family relationships (88%)
Improved understanding of how to support their child's school success (91%)
Systems navigation and advocacy (77%) and
Connections to resources that enrich and stabilize their family (92%).
According to the Harvard Business School of Oregon, every $1 invested in program youth returns $7 to the community. That $7 return on investment becomes almost $27 when siblings, classmates and the next generation are included in the equation.
Our model is real, and it works – for youth, for caregivers and for the next generation.