Friends of the Children by Maddie Hooper


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Friends of the Children by Maddie Hooper

  1. 1. Madeline Hooper, Centre College Class of 2014 Mission It Works! To provide our most vulnerable children a nurturing and sustained relationship with a professional mentor who teaches positive values and has attainable expectations for each child to become a healthy, productive member of the community. Vision To provide a Friend to all vulnerable children who need one and to change the way the world views and treats our most vulnerable children. Method Friends of the Children contracts with an independent program evaluator, NPC Research, to measure success in its three quantifiable goals. Another measure of success is social ROI analysis by the Harvard Business School Association of Oregon, which estimates $3.4 million in social benefit from mentoring each FOTC graduate. Further, FOTC is currently engaged in a longitudinal randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers from the University of Washington, Princeton University, and the University of Oregon. Initial results are highly positive. Friends of the Children is a nonprofit unlike any other. It was founded in 1993 by Portland entrepreneur Duncan Campbell, who wanted to devise a new way to break generational cycles of abuse, incarceration, and poverty. Friends of the Children is set apart from other mentoring programs by several key features: •Early intervention – children are matched with a mentor (called a “Friend”) in kindergarten •Long-term mentorship – FOTC commits to each child from kindergarten through high school graduation. 12½ years. No matter what. •Helping the most vulnerable children – uses a comprehensive, in-depth method to select the children from the most difficult circumstances, where the “ripple effect” of their success will have the greatest impact •Professional mentors – the Friends at FOTC are welltrained and supported individuals whose full-time job is mentoring, meaning that they can commit an average of four hours per week to each youth The organization, which started in Portland, has added chapters in Klamath Falls, Seattle, New York and Boston, meaning that FOTC now aids hundreds of youth across the country. This year, FOTC announced an ambitious scaling plan that will allow them to 7,500 vulnerable children by 206 through sharing best practices, adding affiliates, and using data collected in the child selection process. This process is off to a good start; this summer, FOTC added its first international affiliate. Trelya, a youth services organization in Cornwall, England, will select its first group of kindergarteners this year and has consulted with FOTC for mentor training and child selection methodology. Communications Intern • Observed, interacted with, and interviewed kids and mentors • Found stories and wrote blog posts showcasing specific efforts • Wrote content for Fall Newsletter • Wrote press releases • Researched potential partners • Searched for mentoring and child poverty research and news stories • Researched Facebook contest platforms and designed photo contest • Posted to social media (twitter, facebook, pinterest) • Tracked media statistics • Edited and updated thank-you letters to donors • Oversaw filming for local news channel • Drafted article proposal for Stanford Social Innovation Review • Attended Portland State University’s Summer Symposium on Mentoring Research Past and Future My internship with Friends of the Children – Portland introduced me to the nonprofit sector while building upon my experience as a PR Intern for Tin House and giving me the opportunity to hone my craft as a writer. With an English major and psychology minor, it’s not easy to create a service-based project that relates to my educational background, but FOTC allowed me to use my abilities in order to serve Portland’s neediest kids. The internship was more demanding than my previous one; FOTC required more creativity, initiative, and independence, and it challenged me to write as a journalist. I know the skills I built there will be useful no matter what my future career may be. However, the internship did help narrow my focus. I realized that I need to do work that frequently puts me in direct contact with people and that I need to feel like I’m making a difference in the lives of those people. I am currently looking for short-term but worthwhile options (e.g. Teach for America) and in the long-term, I plan to continue my education with a PhD in clinical psychology or an advanced degree in a related field (e.g. applied psychology, education, counseling).