July 02, 2024

An Inspiring Visit to Friends of the Children – Utah

We are still in our first year as Friends of the Children – Eastern Idaho, but we are committed to learning from all of the years of experience of Friends of the Children chapters across the country.

Earlier this summer, we made the most of an opportunity to visit the Friends of the Children – Utah team just down the road in Salt Lake City! Friends – Utah was established only a few years ago, but it was amazing to see the difference a few years can make. From their welcoming clubhouse space to their thoroughly organized programming and their passionate staff, our team came home inspired and motivated by all that we learned.

Our Friends – Eastern Idaho Program Director, Susanna, is looking forward to modeling a “book of the month” theme after Friends – Utah, and trying out an incentive program for youth as our own program grows. Audrey, our Operations Director, was struck by the Utah team’s friendliness in sharing their own stories and experiences – and their generosity in sending our team home with boxes full of books and resources! Our Executive Director, Gina, shared, “With masterful use of limited space, the arrangement and décor of Utah Chapter’s Clubhouse was warm and inviting. The prominently displayed portraits of each enrolled child and the attractive display of the Core Assets of the program made it crystal clear that the focus is the children and the entire staff’s dedication to supporting their potential for growth.”

Our professional mentors, called Friends, also came away with inspiration for some ideas to implement in their work with youth each day. Chelsae felt inspired to work on “really dialing in on one core asset for the week to create consistency” and is excited to dive into teamwork in planning activities with fellow Friend, Eduardo. The group art piece at Friends – Utah was very inspiring to Eduardo. He “enjoyed seeing everyone’s own personality and style being shown on a single art piece” and hopes we can do something similar at Friends – Eastern Idaho!

We were all impressed with the passion, intentionality, and cohesiveness of the Friends – Utah team. Their dedication to the Friends of the Children model and each individual youth they walk alongside is evident in their welcoming space, organized programming, and warm staff. Our visit gave us new inspiration and great confidence as we continue building our Eastern Idaho chapter. As Eduardo put it, “Being a young chapter themselves, [Friends – Utah] made us feel easy… we are going to have bumps and obstacles but we can power through them.”

After our visit, each Friends – Eastern Idaho team member was asked to share three words to describe our visit to Friends – Utah. It is our hope that in a few years, whenever a future chapter of Friends of the Children comes to visit Friends – Eastern Idaho, they use words like these to describe us:

Inspirational. Educational. Friendly. Stellar. Genuine. Bright. Artistic. Unique. Colorful. Informative. Welcoming. Organized. Eye-Opening. Inspiring. Idea-Provoking.

Thank you to each and every member of the Friends – Utah team for sharing your time, stories, and resources with us. We are very grateful for your example in this important work!