2018 - 2019 has been a big year for us!
Friends of the Children–New York provides long-term stability and relationships that inspire our youth to be their best selves and improve their communities. This past year, we have innovated our model with a new Two-Generation (2Gen) initiative, which provides support to both the parent and child.
We have also re-energized our organizational culture, with a focus on putting children fist, building relationships on love, committing to empowerment, pursuing goals relentlessly and demanding equity. The culture we have established over 17 years is not fixed and will continue to evolve with the changing needs of New York City. We will always embrace the opportunity to impact generational change by empowering youth facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors.
With the launch of our Power of One campaign, we will raise $17 million to serve 30 percent of all children between the ages of four and six whose families have been impacted by the foster care and criminal justice systems in Harlem and South Bronx.
The Power of One campaign and 2Gen initiative will be achieved by ensuring the highest quality program outcomes, amplifying the voices of our youth and families and focusing on effecting systems change. We hope you will continue to support our work. Together, we can empower our youth to change their stories.
"Friends of the Children NY has been an incredible support for me and my children. My daughter Tasha* has been in the program for 12 years and just graduated high school. Friends was there for her every step of the way, from the time she was in kindergarten to her graduation ceremony. No one else has been in my family's life longer than Friends NY." – Friends NY parent
The FY19 year was full of exciting developments, including a focus on enhancing our program structure and quality. In anticipation of our planned growth, we have instituted new quality controls and increased our program management capacity by:
These changes have resulted in the improvement of the organization and program quality, including:
"Friends NY was like my family and my peers and their parents were like my extended family. Seeing my Friends, who looked just like me and grew up in my neighborhood, achieve their educational goals helped to inspire me to believe that it was possible for me too." – Freddie, Friends NY Graduate
Friends NY is focused on doubling the number of Friends we are able to employ. Our expansion efforts will target two of NYC's most challenged systems: child welfare and criminal justice. We aim to serve more than 30% of all children between the ages of four and six whose families have been impacted by foster care and/or the criminal justice systems.
Youth aging out of our foster care system struggle in numerous ways. For example, at least 45% do not graduate from high school in four years and 25% are involved in the juvenile justice system. Similarly, the challenges for families working to re-enter the community on parole and probation are numerous, including limited housing options and lack of access to behavioral health supports. NYC has begun to acknowledge the years of historical racial disparities by transforming its child welfare system and reforming its prison system. Friends NY has an opportunity to impact youth and families positively in Harlem and the South Bronx, empowering them to overcome the multiple effects of poverty and familial fragmentation.
From the Bronx to Harlem
Our goal is to scale our program services to serve 30% of our defined target population over the next five years.
Friends NY is focusing on innovation in four key areas that we believe will make our model stronger and more responsive to the communities we serve.
Empowering Families Through a Two-Generation (2-Gen) Approach
Beginning in 2019, as part of our new Two-Generation (2-Gen) program, Friends NY will begin enrolling 4-6 year old children of young adult parents who have either experienced foster care or have been impacted by the criminal justice system. A 2Gen approach helps children and parents make progress together, and it strengthens our impact on families and communities.
Serving Foster Care and Criminal Justice Impacted Youth and Families
Our historical enrollment strategy to identify children facing the greatest number of barriers revealed a strong correlation with system involvement. We are innovating our enrollment strategy to partner with public service agencies that can help us identify those system involved youth and families who would benefit the most from our long-term model.
Achieving the 2E's: Enrollment in Higher Education, Enlistment in the Military, Employment
Our Friends are supporting youth in the adolescent years to graduate from high school with a solid plan in place for one of the "Three E's": Enrollment, Enlistment or Employment. One way Friends do this is by working to ensure that middle- and high-school-aged youth have practical experiences and networking opportunities that expose them to new chapter paths and position them for internships, jobs and educational opportunities.
Employing a Social Justice Framework
Our model is a promising solution to counteracting the historical and system-induced trauma marginalized communities face by (re)distribution of resources, opportunities, and responsibilities. Our staff is trained to understand the roots of oppression, injustice, and trauma. We empower youth and families to exercise self-determination, build social solidarity, and increase capacity for collaborative community action.
Kids in Foster Care
Kids with Incarcerated Parents
"Friends help my kids to explore other parts of the city, exposing them to new things and giving them the confidence to believe they can do anything they put their mind to." – Aziza, Friends NY parent
Read two stories from our report:
"Caleb's Friends were there for him as a positive male role model when his father couldn't be. The stability that Friends NY provided to Caleb helped me to focus my energy on overcoming the challenges of being a single mother." –Diana, Friends NY parent
"Friends NY serves communities that are most impacted by the foster care and criminal justice systems. As our neighbors, I feel we share a collective responsibility to support our families in overcoming their barriers and helping them realize independence and stability." – Kathy Maurella, Board Chair