In 2024, Friends of the Children will begin serving youth and families in Eastern Idaho! Our vision is that one day, every child in Eastern Idaho who is at highest risk of the long-term effects of childhood adversity, like foster care, will have a Friend – a long term, salaried professional mentor who stays with them from ages 4 to 6 through high school graduation, 12+ years, no matter what.

Each child enrolled in the Friends – Eastern Idaho’s program will be paired with a paid, professional mentor called a Friend. For 12+ years, from ages 4 to 6 to high school graduation, Friends work with their youth in schools, at home, and in the community for 3 to 4 hours each week to build skills like problem-solving, perseverance, and self-management. These skills empower youth to pursue and achieve their goals in school and in life. Simultaneously, leveraging our two-generation approach, Friends will empower parents and caregivers to build their own skills as parents, advocate for themselves and their children, and increase connectedness to community resources that improve family stability.

Our Mission

Impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what.

Our Values

Our values guide us to achieve our mission. Each value applies not only to our youth, Friends and program teams, but also applies to all Friends of the Children employees, volunteers and partners. We use our values to make informed decisions; to hire, coach, and manage; and most importantly, we use our values to change the way the world treats and views the youth and families we serve.

Put Children First

Put Children First

We intentionally serve youth who are facing the greatest obstacles. To help our youth discover their limitless potential, we foster their internal resiliency. We listen to our youth and base decisions on each youth’s needs and dreams. We prioritize self-care so that we bring our best selves to our work and focus on our youth.

Build Relationships on Love

Build Relationships on Love

We nurture long-term relationships from a foundation of love, acceptance and culturally-informed practice. We don’t give up easily and take a no matter what approach to our work. We commit for the long-term. We intentionally develop collaborative relationships over time with trust, empathy and healthy communication. We believe that we build community through one-on-one connections that are authentic, respectful and meaningful.

Empowerment

Commit to Empowerment

We leverage personal strengths to take ownership of our futures. We build relationships within the communities of our youth and families to strengthen social networks and provide bridges to new opportunities. We consistently inspire possibility through empathy, hard work and fun. We model all of this for our youth, families and each other.

Pursue Goals Relentlessly

Pursue Goals Relentlessly

We celebrate all achievements, big and small. We are disciplined in our commitment to goals, while innovative in how we reach them. We believe that the definition of success requires intentional reflection and adjustment over time. We work together and hold ourselves accountable with data to achieve short and long-term outcomes.

Demand equity

Demand Equity

We acknowledge the historical and present injustices impacting marginalized communities. We demand equity from ourselves and from our community. We insist that all people have the necessary support to achieve all of their hopes and dreams. We amplify the voices of our children, families and communities. We bring together different experiences, skills and backgrounds to provide opportunities to overcome personal, systemic and institutional barriers.

History

After initiating exploratory meetings with interested communities throughout the state in 2020, Friends of the Children found a group of community members in Southeastern Idaho who began working together to raise the seed funding needed to start a local chapter. Thanks to the generosity of the Echo Fund, The Silver Family Foundation, the Cambia Health Foundation, Intermountain Healthcare, Mackenzie Scott, and the American Falls School District, Friends of the Children – Eastern Idaho was incorporated as a 501c3 in May 2023, and the formal launch process began, with plans to have every necessary detail in place to begin serving the first cohort of 16 children in American Falls by February 2024! We envision – and with our community partners are determined to ensure – an Idaho where every Kindergarten-aged child who is facing or who has faced traumatic childhood adversity, including the risk of entering foster care, will have a Friend: a paid, professional mentor who stays with them through high school graduation, no matter what. With this unconditional, long-term support, lives will be forever changed, and the cycle of generational poverty will be broken.