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March 24, 2020

Invest in Hope: Build Strength in Our Community

By Terri Sorensen, CEO, Friends of the Children

We hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe in these uncertain times. As the situation with COVID-19 evolves and we learn more, Friends of the Children remains focused on how to best support our youth and families – those who are most impacted by this crisis. We know that now, more than ever, strong relationships built on love will make all the difference.

Inspired by the way that our communities are coming together, I am reaching out today to share more about the challenges faced by the youth and families enrolled in our program. We also know you are looking for ways to help and we are grateful.

Across the Friends of the Children network, our incredible Friends and staff are showing our youth and families what "no matter what" means:

There is a lot we don't know about the future, but one thing we are sure of: our Friends are needed now more than ever. Friends – consistent, highly-trained adults who build relationships on love – are continuing to support our children and families through these traumatic times, no matter what. As our families and youth are being challenged and taxed now more than ever, any amount you can give makes an immediate difference as we look to meet basic needs both physically and relationally for our youth and their families.

We are filled with gratitude for you and the incredible perseverance of our communities. I believe we can find strength in each other. Thank you so much for your support.

We are thinking of you, and we welcome the opportunity to hear from you.

Our mentors are committed to continue working with youth during this time through technology and continue to work toward their goals. Above is an example from our Friends of the Children–Seattle chapter. Daniel*, one of their teen youth, was scheduled to take his SAT test. Seattle's executive director, Steve Lewis used FaceTime and sent pictures of math equations back and forth to help Daniel study. They worked through a whole practice test online together to get ready for the test happening the next day. COVID-19 won't stop our youth's school success and their grit and perseverance.

At our Friends of the Children–Austin chapter, Uriel, a Friend, uses FaceTime with his youth and said, "Despite not being able to do outings with our youth, it has ben super cool to have caregivers be open to the idea for me to be in contact with youth via phone call/video calls. So far, I've been able to have conversations with youth about the COVID-19, how this experience is making them feel and how to cope with those feelings and the precautions they can take to stay safe. With all of the resources that the team gathered up, it has made it easy for me to engage in different activities with the youth: learning about spiders, reading, drawing, or just having a chat with youth and caregivers."

We look forward to sharing more of these stories of how our Friends are supporting our youth and families, while practicing social distancing.