New chapters of the national organization, Friends of the Children, are opening across the nation, and Central Oregon is now home to one of them. Friends of the Children, a Portland-based nonprofit is dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished children.The nonprofit now has 14 locations nationwide.
Children in the program are matched with a professional "friend" who will assist the child from kindergarten to high school. The professional adult will spend three to four hours with the child per week. This hands-on mentoring experience is aimed at reducing the cycle of poverty for youth. "There are areas in Central Oregon where upwards of 30 percent of children live in poverty," Kim Hatfield, executive director for Friends of the Children Central Oregon said. "We will now be able to help some of the most vulnerable children write a more hopeful story, thanks to the support of so many generous donors."
The chapter serving Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties will focus first on identifying high-risk children within local school districts, with a goal of enrolling 24 students in the first year and hiring three professionals who will mentor the students full time.