Our Mentoring Programs:
Since the first Friends “match” was made in 1999, over 850 children have been served in one of two mentoring programs:
Adult volunteers meet weekly with their young friends one-on-one in the greater Walla Walla community. Whether it’s throwing a ball, baking cookies, or playing board games at a local coffee shop, the focus is always on the friendship. Children in this program range from ages 6-17. Although we request a minimum of a year-long commitment, many of our volunteers have continued in their friendships for much longer.
School-Based ABC Program
Adult volunteers commit to meet weekly during lunchtime or after school for a full school-year with their young friends on school grounds in College Place. Children range from grades 1-8 and enjoy spending time with their adult friends engaging in diverse activities, including reading, board games, sports, tag, and art projects. Even though all contact takes place at school, there are no specific academic goals to achieve—the focus is simply on developing a friendship.
How Can A Child Get A Friend?
Any child can be involved in our programs, as long as they are between the ages of 6 and 17.
Step #1 – Request
- First, complete a Request for a Friend application and deliver or mail it to our office, or email it as an attachment to our Program Coordinator.
Step #2 – Home or School Visit
ABC School-Based Program
- Our Program Coordinator will meet with the child on school grounds to learn about their interests, hobbies, style, and expectations for the friendship.
- Our Program Coordinator will schedule a home visit with the child and their parent(s) or guardian(s). This process of interaction and observation enables us to make the best match possible for each child, family, and volunteer.
- The parent or guardian is also asked to complete the following forms:
· Family Intake (Demographic Survey)
· Evaluation Consent and Survey
· Parent/Guardian Policies & Expectations
· Medical Information
Step #3 – "Match" Meeting
- We propose a friendship match based on the interests of the child, family, and volunteer, and our Program Coordinator facilitates the initial "match" meeting between everyone.
- If the child and volunteer both feel the match is a good fit, they will begin meeting weekly, either on school grounds or out in the community, depending on which program they are involved with.
- If a child is placed on the waiting list for a volunteer, families are still invited to attend Friends events so they can become familiar with staff members and also provide their child with exposure to community venues.