About Us


Our vision is to empower at-risk youth to be physically healthy, safe, emotionally secure, and academically engaged.  Friends for Youth’s mission is to provide adult support and guidance through long-term, high quality, one-to-one mentoring and supporting activities specifically for youth who need help the most.  Our purpose is to provide mentoring services to help high-risk young people stay on a successful path and help them achieve key milestones on the path to adulthood.

Friends for Youth believes all children should have the opportunity to lead a healthful, successful life, especially at-risk youth who are at such a disadvantage and face challenges young people shouldn’t have to face.  The youth in our program are challenged by poverty, academic failure, physical abuse, bullying, mental abuse, violence, drug usage, and gang involvement.  This is their everyday reality that is further compounded by the adults in their lives being unable – or unwilling – to provide support.  


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Founded in 1979, our Mentoring Services program has helped over 2,000 youth-in-need reach their full potential. Friends for Youth provides two programs:

Our one-to-one program carefully matches an at-risk youth with a caring mentor, and spend 2-3 hours a week together for a six-month or one-year period.  Our 90% success rate of creating long-term mentoring matches is far above the national average.

Our Connect Program is a school-based group mentoring model launched in 2017 to help at-risk youth transition into high school.  9th grade is considered the “make or break” year for high school and youth at-risk are particularly vulnerable to academic failure and dropping out of school.  Launched at Sequoia High School in 2016, the program expands to a second year at Sequoia for 9th graders, and for last year’s freshmen who are now sophomores.  Connect also expanded in 2017 into McKinley and Hoover Middle Schools in Redwood City whose students feed into Sequoia for high school.  

Studies have consistently shown that youth in our programs improve their motivation and school performance, demonstrate increased self-esteem and resiliency, and rarely have future involvement with the Juvenile Justice System. Mentoring works.  Learn more about our Mentoring Services. 

“The more I learn about Friends for Youth, the more impressed I am.  Their program is truly the gold standard in the mentoring field.”

Dr. Jean Rhodes, Boston University, Leading Mentoring Researcher and Keynote Speaker 12th annual Mentoring Conference:  Share What You Know, January 2011






After more than 30 years, Friends for Youth represents the gold standard in the mentoring field. 

Mentoring programs throughout the country have requested technical assistance in setting up and enhancing their own mentoring programs.  Friends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute was created to address that need and share information on Recommended Best Practices through products and trainings.

FFY Short Description

Transforming the lives of at-risk youth through the power of mentoring