Friends of the Children - Utah

Generational Change, One Child at a Time

aka Friends - Utah   |   Kearns, UT   |  http://friendsutah.org

Mission

Friends of the Children–Utah is part of a national network of Friends of the Children chapters across the United States. Friends of the Children connects children – all of whom have unique talents – to a paid, professional mentor called a Friend. We hire and train Friends whose full-time jobs are to support our youth to succeed, despite the extremely challenging situations most experience, from as early as age 4 through high school graduation – 12+ years, no matter what. Our model is distinct, courageous and proven. We redefined youth mentoring by creating the first and only long-term professional mentoring program in the country. Our model is real, and it works.

Ruling year info

2020

Executive Director

Sandi Pershing

Main address

5361 S 4220 W Suite B

Kearns, UT 84118 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

84-4890857

NTEE code info

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our children & families have been impacted by systemic and socioeconomic barriers. The manifestation of those barriers lead to youth being vulnerable to school failure, teenage pregnancy, criminal justice and foster care system involvement. We intentionally select youth, age 4-6 from high poverty schools and foster care. We work with our children for 12 + years—from kindergarten through graduation and entry to post-secondary education and the workforce.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

1-on-1 Personalized Mentorship for 12+ Years

We select youth in the Salt Lake region who are facing the greatest obstacles and partner them with a professional, salaried mentor for 12+ years, No Matter What.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Friends of the Children -Utah is a youth-serving member to a national nonprofit. Like all children, the youth we serve have unique talents, varied interests and big dreams. Unlike other programs, we exclusively focus on children who are also facing many systemic obstacles. Children who have experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by the time they reach kindergarten. We hire and train paid, professional mentors called Friends whose full-time jobs are to support our youth to succeed. Each child has a Friend from as early as age 4 through high school graduation—12+ years, no matter what.

Friends partner with youth—and their parents or caregivers—to set goals and reach them, build life skills, and advocate for their needs. Friends also create meaningful, fun experiences that promote social and emotional growth while exploring the child’s diverse talents and interests. We help shift the way institutions and systems view and treat our youth and their families.

Our model is distinct, courageous and proven. We redefined youth mentoring by creating the first and only long-term professional mentoring program in the country. Friends are experts in building sustained and nurturing relationships with youth. Our program is evidence-informed and research-based, and we have proven long-term outcomes.

Our model is real and it works.

Children who are served by Friends of the Children - Utah are enrolled each year during our selection process. The selection process is intensive and occurs with our community partners -- The Utah Division of Child and Family Services, The Children's Center, Redwood Elementary Schools, and Neighborhood House.

How it works:

1. We select children who could most benefit from a relationship with a professional, long-term mentor.
Like all children, the youth we serve have unique talents, varied interests and big dreams. Unlike other programs, we exclusively focus on children who are also facing many systemic obstacles and who have lived through a lot of trauma.

2. We hire and train full-time, paid, professional mentors called Friends.
Our Friends are special and amazing. They have chosen to make long-term mentoring their profession. Their full-time job is to support youth and their parents or caregivers. Moving mentorship out of the volunteer realm is key to getting the quality, consistency and commitment our children and their families deserve in the relationship.

3. We commit for the long term.
We commit to more than a decade of professional mentoring, from as early as age 4 through high school graduation—12+ years, no matter what. On average, each child will have two to three Friends during their time in the program: one Friend who specializes in the early years of development, followed by a Friend trained to work with teens. A long-term relationship with a Friend is critical for our youth and families because they often have a history of complex trauma, and it can take time to build trust.

4. Our work is relationship-based, individualized and intentional.
We are experts in building long-term, nurturing relationships with youth. Each child gets a dedicated Friend who listens to their hopes and dreams, and helps them set their own goals. The Friend and youth co-create a roadmap for achieving those goals. The roadmap includes activities that build life skills and Cores Assets.

5. We work with youth and their parents or caregivers in the community, at home and in their child’s school.
We take a whole-child approach because we understand that lived experiences, home environment, systems, community and culture shape how a child develops and learns. We also serve as a link between the different areas of the child’s life to create stability and consistency. Friends spend time with their youth in school advocating for them and accessing resources.

6. We evaluate, measure and improve.
We are equal parts head and heart. The youth we serve are proud of their accomplishments, and we are incredibly proud of them. We are data informed so that we can adapt to give our best to the youth we serve. We collect data from Friends, youth and parents that demonstrates the efforts our Friends put into supporting our youth. Our model is being evaluated through numerous independent studies and third-party evaluations.

While other organizations in the community provide youth mentoring services, no other organization makes a commitment to exclusively serve the most vulnerable children with the same intensity and duration. We employ full-time, professional mentors who spend a great deal of time with children every week; we intervene early; and we commit for the long-term. Our program works because of several key elements that distinguish us from other mentoring organizations:

- Professional Mentors: Our Friends are highly trained and experienced in handling situations that many volunteer mentors would not be equipped to resolve. For the children we serve—who are some of the most vulnerable in the community—it is essential to have a mentor who is adept at handling emotional crises and navigating challenging situations that arise within children's families, their schools, and the social services system.
- Long-term Commitment: We make a 12+ year commitment to each of our children. We promise to show up for them, week after week, year after year, from kindergarten through high school. Friends often provide the only stable relationship in our children's lives, which are marked by changes in caregivers and frequent moves.
- Intensive Mentoring: Children spend 16 hours per month with their Friends, an average of four hours every week. This allows Friends to be integrated into all aspects of children's lives by spending time with them at home, in the classroom, and in the community.

Our innovative program model is based on extensive research into best practices for serving children most at risk for serious negative outcomes. This formative process determined that highly vulnerable children: 1) can be identified early based on research-proven risk factors; 2) must be supported by a caring, supportive adult relationship; and that 3) prevention must begin early, be sustained, and be holistic. Due to the long-term, intensive nature of our program, Friends are able to respond to each child on a highly individualized level, standing by them as they work to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

The innovative program model Friends - Utah uses has a twenty year track record of successful outcomes. 83% of Friends of the Children graduates have earned a high school diploma or GED, though more than 60% have parents who did not graduate; 93% of our youth avoid the juvenile justice system, though 50% have at least one parent who has been incarcerated; 98% avoid early parenting, while 85% were born to a teen parent.

Based on our youth's achievements, analysts from the Harvard Business School Association of Oregon have calculated more than $7 in social return for every $1 invested in our program. Their analysis shows that children who qualify for Friends of the Children, but don't have access to a Friend, are 3 times more likely to drop out of high school or not obtain a GED, 5 times more likely to be incarcerated in the juvenile justice system, and 13 times more likely to become a teen parent.

Financials

Friends of the Children - Utah
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Friends of the Children - Utah

Board of directors
as of 2/15/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Jennifer Danielson

Cambia Health Solutions

Term: 2020 -


Board co-chair

T. Felt

Private Investment

Term: 2020 -

Mary Kate Ivory Bertha

Ivory Foundation

Mark Bouchard

CBRE

Martha Bradley-Evans

University of Utah

Paul Schuhmacher

AArete

Erinn Kelley-Siel

Friends of the Children - National

Jesus Valero

University of Utah

Natasha Hansen

Life Church Utah

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/02/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data