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February 20, 2024

Friends of the Children-SF Bay Area Urges Capitol Hill to Prioritize Professional Mentorship for Youth Facing Adversity

Friends of the Children-SF Bay Area Executive Director and Esteemed Board Member called on Representatives of Members of Congress to pass a bill prioritizing youth impacted by foster care, mental health issues and other systemic barriers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FEB. 20, 2024) – Friends of the Children-SF Bay Area, along with leaders from 36 communities representing youth from more than 650 schools, descended upon Capitol Hill last week to deliver one message: put children first. Friends of the Children-SF Bay Area called on members of Congress to prioritize investment in paid, professional mentoring for children who have immense potential and face significant obstacles. The Friends of the Children’s Network Boad Chair/Executive Director Summit in Washington, D.C. was held from February 8th to February 10th.

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to share the phenomenal impact that Friends of the Children’s professional mentorship model has on the children and caregivers we serve across the country, and we are inspired by the commitment of our congressional leaders in showing their support to these communities,” said Timothy Waters, Executive Director, Friends of the Children-SF Bay Area. “The persisting Academic Learning Gap, particularly in Bayview Hunters Point, one of San Francisco’s most historically disenfranchised and marginalized communities, means that it is imperative we are having conversations and taking action to ensure our community’s children are prioritized and have the resources to thrive.”

Friends of the Children-SF Bay Area Executive Director Waters, and Bill Jeffrey, an esteemed board member who spent 20 years as a leader within the federal government, met with legislative policy advisors of Senator Alex Padilla, Senator Laphonza Butler, and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, to discuss the importance of professional mentoring for youth in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point.

During these meetings, Friends-SF leaders emphasized the importance of:

  • The demonstrated return on investment ($7 to $1) of the Friends of the Children professional mentoring model.
  • Localized impact of the Friends of the Children model, addressing the specific needs of youth and families in Bayview Hunters Point.
  • The introduction of legislation that would create a five-year pilot program supporting professional mentoring programs for youth.

Friends of the Children-SF Bay Area has shown tremendous impact as more communities recognize the model as a strategy for both foster care prevention and mental health promotion for young people who face great obstacles.

Photo Credit: Ting Shen