Breaking the cycle of poverty through mentorship and supportFriends of the Children-Austin is a new chapter of a national nonprofit that is breaking the cycle of generational poverty by giving children facing the highest risks the ability to create a new story. We do this by providing the most vulnerable children with a long-term, salaried, professional mentor, who we call a “Friend”, from kindergarten through high school graduation, 12.5 years.
The FOTC evidence-based model works:
- 83 percent of our youth graduate from high school
- 93 percent of our youth avoid the juvenile justice system
- 98 percent of our youth avoid early parenting
We aren’t just changing the stories of children facing the highest risks. We’re changing the collective stories of our community for the long run. Our work is focused on one child at a time, but it affects everyone.
The Friends of the Children mission
Friends of the Children’s mission is to help our nation’s most vulnerable children develop relationships, goals and skills necessary to break the cycles of poverty, abuse and violence, and become contributing members of society.
Our model is unique and proven.
- We select children facing the highest risk.
- We employ full-time, salaried, professional mentors, who we call “Friends”.
- We commit for the long term.
- Our work is individualized and intentional.
- We work in the home, in the school and in the community.
- We evaluate, measure and improve.
More about Friends of the Children-Austin
#1. We select Austin children facing the highest risks through recommendations of teachers and parent at participating elementary schools.
Our children are statistically at serious risk of continuing the cycle of poverty in their own lives.
- 60 percent have parents who did not graduate high school.
- 50 percent of our youth have parents who were incarcerated.
- 85 percent of our youth were born to a teen parent.
#2. We employ, and train, salaried professional mentors called Friends.
Moving mentorship out of the volunteer realm is a key component to getting the quality, consistency and commitment that our children need. In other FOTC cities, the average tenure is over seven years and the Austin chapter expects the same dedication from our Friends.
#3. We commit for the long term.
We will commit to every Austin child for the long term, from kindergarten through graduation. 12.5 years. No matter what.
#4. We focus on the complete transformation of each child.
Each child gets a dedicated, one-on-one Friend who spends a minimum of 16 intentional hours per month with them. We develop a roadmap for each child and design activities to build life skills. We create meaningful experiences to explore each child’s unique talents and interests.
#5. We work in and with the child's community.
Friends spend time in each child’s home, school, neighborhood and community. Friends can provide continuity in these often-unstable environments and serve as a link between the different facets of the child’s life. This means we advocate for children at their school and become someone their family trusts in emergencies.
#6. We evaluate, measure, and improve.
FOTC-Austin is a participant of an ongoing longitudinal randomized control trial conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of Washington, Princeton University, and the University of Oregon. We are also assessed annually by an independent third-party evaluator. This allows us to continue to identify ways to make our program stronger.