Welcoming New Faces-By Denise Tambasco

Each spring semester, we reach out to local schools and other youth-serving professionals to recommend girls in grades six through twelve for The Friendship Club program. The purpose of our recruitment efforts is to connect with girls who are eager for support and interested in making good choices for their future.  The process is focused on identifying girls who may otherwise “fall through the cracks.”  The girls that are referred are not yet engaging in unhealthy behaviors, however they are likely living in an environment that makes them vulnerable to potentially poor choices.

Girls are recommended to the program for a variety of reasons: lack of peer connections at school; academic deficiency with little home support; lack of a positive female role model; history of substance abuse in the home; history of domestic violence or neglect in the home; prolonged illness or recent death of a parent; living in a single parent home, kinship care, or foster care; having an incarcerated parent; or economically disadvantaged family with little to no access to activities.  Each girl who is referred to us is interviewed in the spring, typically between April and May. If she is determined to be a good fit for the program we extend an invitation to the parent/guardian for an interview to discuss the goals of The Friendship Club program.  Girls who are accepted into The Friendship Club begin our program in time for summer camp and other summer activities we offer.

This year, we kicked off the summer of 2017 with an ice cream social, which we had the awesome opportunity to welcome 25 new girls to the program! Throughout the summer, the girls will join their cohort members at one of our week-long camps and participate in various clinics. In the Fall, girls from 18 different schools will attend weekly meetings at the club. We are excited to welcome them into The Friendship Club family and look forward to many more summers with them!

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