A Message from our Executive Director

jenniferThe Friendship Club is successful for many reasons: we have an amazing dedicated professional staff, we have enthusiastic and caring volunteers, we have a compassionate and collaborative board of directors and we have donors who believe that investing in the lives of our girls is an important part of creating a healthy community.

I would like to thank the business community in particular for their support over the years. Community focused businesses that sponsor The Friendship Club care about investing in the health and welfare of our children. Their contributions fund the day-to-day programs, keeping girls safe and nurtured in a loving environment, influenced by positive, life enhancing experiences.

Local businesses are key to the development of Friendship Club girls as future employees. Our girls, for the most part, stay in our community after high school graduation, attend Sierra College and work in the area. Some have left to attend college and are planning to return. We prepare our girls for this track by helping them hone their interview skills, build resumes, achieve financial literacy and ensure they have the opportunity to set short and long term education and career goals. As our girls are welcomed by local businesses to participate in community service, they are learning to give back and be responsible members of our community.

Thank you to the businesses that believe in the power of community and have invested in The Friendship Club. If you are not yet a business donor, please consider joining us as a business partner and contributing to the program excellence that fosters health and growth for some of our community’s most vulnerable young women.   Call today to set up a time to meet to learn more about how YOU can make a difference for our girls: 265-4311.

In Friendship,

Jenn

Building Self-Awareness in Our Girls

StrengthsQuestThroughout the year, we engage our girls in key impact areas that when developed, will help them grow into strong, healthy and happy adults: Health and Wellness, Self-Awareness, Goal Setting, Self-Sufficiency, Healthy Relationships, and Community Connectedness. This month, we wanted to highlight the impact area of Self-Awareness.

Self-Awareness is defined as “an awareness of one’s own personality or individuality.” Our goal is that girls become increasingly more self-aware the longer they participate in The Friendship Club. A few examples of what we hope our girls will demonstrate as part of their developing self-awareness is self-respect, knowing their strengths and using them to understand their interactions with others and to inform their decision-making, respecting the boundaries of others, and listening to their intuition and feelings of being unsafe.

This month, the high school girls are focusing on self-awareness by exploring their own strengths. The girls each took the Gallup StrengthsQuest assessment and were evaluated for their 5 top strengths. It was not surprising that most of their strengths ended up in the category of “Relationship Building,” since this is a time when they are focused on their peers.  We will use the results of the assessment throughout the year to complete a series of activities addressing how knowing their strengths can help them discover how to apply them to school, relationships and careers. For instance, in our “Job Analysis” activity, girls will look at a variety of “real life” job descriptions to see how their personal strengths may fit into that role. It can be very empowering to look at yourself through this lens. Typically, our girls tend to focus on where they are lacking.  We want them to focus on where they shine; a positive take on promoting self-awareness!

The most important thing about The Friendship Club is that I can learn to like me for me. – 7th Grade TFC Girl

A Message From Our Executive Director

jennifer2015 was an exciting and an important milestone for The Friendship Club as we celebrated our 20th anniversary. We wrapped the year with a special gift from Century 21: Realtors and staff from the South County, Penn Valley, Grass Valley, and Nevada City Century 21 offices participated in outfitting The Friendship Club with much needed kitchen equipment! The kitchen shower was an important step in our efforts in 2016 to continue to provide wholesome, quality meals for our girls when they are with us. The new equipment allows us to be more efficient and creative. Feeding 85 girls a week is an important part of our mission – we want to make sure girls have access to healthy food as well as an opportunity to learn how to prepare nutritious meals. We are also able to “go green” by abandoning paper plates and plastic utensils for real dishes and silverware. The girls love eating off real plates and are taking pride in helping with the small extra effort that involves.

We are grateful for Eric Hatch and Dan Jacquzzi, owners of Century 21 for supporting this effort. Thank you to Cathy Bearry and Shannon Hatch for bringing this idea to Century 21 and for supporting the process. Thank you Century 21 Realtors and staff for supporting the efforts of The Friendship Club, for impacting our programs, and for investing in our girls and our community.

2016 is going to be another amazing year! Not only have we started the year off right with this incredible investment, but we are also looking forward to expanding our scope and impacting young women into their early twenties through the launch of our new alumni program! Stay tuned for more details later…

In Friendship,

Jenn

Power of the Purse

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We are putting the POW in Power of the Purse this year!! Our annual event coming on March 16th is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about The Friendship Club, meet some of our girls and alumni, enjoy a delicious lunch and participate in our amazing purse raffle! We are currently recruiting table captains to fill our event and will kick off with a table captain party next week. Captains are charged with filling a table of eight.

Power of the Purse 2016 will kick off our 100 Heroes for Friendship campaign. We are seeking monthly donors who will commit to the long-term health and sustainability of The Friendship Club. This year we have moved to the Grass Valley Vets Hall so we have plenty of room to welcome you and your guests!

If you are interested in learning more about this event or are considering being a captain, please call Cindy at 265-4311. RSVP is required.

Monthly Matters

2015 GraduatesHave you considered becoming a monthly donor? Did you know that monthly donors are critical to the long-term success of our program because they provide steady, reliable income that we can count on? Monthly donations help us in between major fundraising events and provide stability during our busiest times of year. In an effort to encourage, excite, and engage more monthly donors we are launching our Monthly Matters group!

Monthly donors will enjoy a special newsletter highlighting how monthly donations impact our program and including special stories from girls and alums about their experiences at the club, in college and in the working world. On Monday, February 29th we will LEAP into our new program with a gathering at The Friendship Club! You will be inspired and excited as you learn more about the programs, meet other monthly donors, staff and graduates of The Friendship Club. You will learn firsthand how important you are to our mission and making an impact on our girls!

If you are a monthly donor already, please look for your Monthly Matters newsletter and invitation to our February 29th event – bring a friend to learn more! If you are not yet a monthly donor please consider becoming one today; monthly donations in any amount are appreciated. Please consider supporting our efforts to engage 100 monthly donors in 2016 and IMPACT The Friendship Club today and into tomorrow! Monthly donors have the option of making their donations via check, credit card, bank account, or Paypal! Call today to learn more or to sign up: 265-4311.

Making an Impact

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How does The Friendship Club know if it’s successful in achieving its mission to educate, engage and empower girls at risk? This is a question we hear a lot! Besides observing the changes in our girls first-hand and hearing their stories of growth while in our program, we have worked hard to capture data on the impacts we are making year after year. However, we first needed to specify “what are the impacts we are trying to achieve with the girls?” in order to measure them. We focus on six impact areas in order to help participating girls grow into happy, healthy adults:

  1. Health and Wellness: Girls are learning healthy coping skills for the stressors in their lives; are understanding the physiological and emotional impacts of using drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and are learning about and developing positive health care habits including fitness and nutrition.
  2. Self-Awareness: Girls are reflecting on their own growth and strengths. They are getting to know who they are and understand how their actions affect their lives.
  3. Goal Setting: Girls are learning how to set short-term and long-term goals and have a clear understanding of what steps are needed to achieve them. They have confidence that they can achieve the life that they want.
  4. Self-Sufficiency: Girls will be able to take care of themselves by learning important life skills such as financial literacy, planning and preparing meals, how to interact with adults, proper etiquette in formal and informal settings, and how to help take care of their home.
  5. Healthy Relationships: Girls learn what a healthy, safe relationship looks like and they can maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, and significant others.
  6. Community Connectedness: Girls are given opportunities to connect with their community through community service activities and interacting with the community at events. They understand the importance of giving back to whatever community they live in and feel responsible to do so.

Regardless of whether girls are attending an after school meeting, going on a field trip, or spending time at summer camp, each activity developed by our program directors is aimed at building our girls’ knowledge and skills in each of these impact areas. Furthermore, we do so in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the wide range of ages we serve.

So how do we know we are successful? Yes, we do observe positive changes in our girls in these areas, and yes, we are measuring this growth with the data we collect. But the real way we know is because the girls say so! According to the girls, they believe that The Friendship Club has helped them:

  • Do better in school (92%)
  • Make new friends (92%)
  • Think about their future (94%)
  • Stay out of trouble (87%)
  • Have a safe place to be (96%)
  • Have a plan after high school (90%)
  • Understand what a healthy relationship is like (90%)

WE are successful and it’s all because we do this together for our girls.  Thank you for your part in making this success happen!

A Message from our Executive Director

jenniferTwenty Years! It’s hard to believe, important to celebrate, and has been emotional to witness the compassion, connection, and camaraderie The Friendship Club inspires in our community.

Thank you, our loyal and kind donors and volunteers, for your friendship, hard work and dedication to our girls. I am empowered each day by the staff, volunteers, and donors who work so hard to create a loving environment where our girls can blossom into the young women they are.

I am especially proud of the girls I have had the opportunity to meet over the last twenty years. Their stories are often heartbreaking, their courage in the face of adversity is inspiring, and I am so proud of them that my heart swells.

Donors, volunteers and friends like you have laid a strong foundation for our girls. Because of you they have friendship and fun, summers together, Thanksgiving traditions, and happy childhood memories. You have helped us create space for them. It’s a space for them to think and learn, a space for them to develop positive and lasting relationships, a space to dream and experience life and possibilities. We hold this space and welcome them no matter where they are, no matter what struggles they face, no matter what they need.

Our girls are giving back, leading, loving, and growing together and many are returning to give to younger girls what they had the opportunity to experience in their younger years. Every year, every month, every day, this matters. They matter. You matter.

I thank you,

Jenn

Executive Director Achieves Milestone

CFRE Certificate PicAll of us at The Friendship Club are proud to announce that Executive Director, Jennifer Singer, has successfully received her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential! This is no easy accomplishment by any means, as demonstrated by the fact that she is only one of three such people with their CFRE credential in all of Nevada County! She received her credential alongside colleague, Sandra Barrington, the Major Gift Director for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (SNMHF). Kimberly Parker, Executive Director of SNMHF, has been the only CFRE in the county until these two amazing ladies joined her!

The CFRE credential demonstrates an individual’s mastery of the standards set for experienced fundraising professionals. This rigorous process of certification requires both an application and a written examination to test one’s skills and knowledge in fundraising. According to the credential granting entity, CFRE International, they certify experienced fundraising professionals aspiring to the highest standards of ethics, competence and service to the philanthropic sector. Well done, Jenn! We are lucky to have you as our leader and for the knowledge and skills you contribute to our community!

Holiday Reception Honors Supporters

Our Annual Holiday Reception for donors and volunteers was an awesome party! It is such an amazing evening to simply say thank you to the people who are committed to our mission and our girls. Guests enjoyed meeting some of our girls and we were so proud to have so many girls (one from each cohort) share her personal experiences with our donors. We also honored long time board member, Susie Bavo. We surprised Susie with a visit from the girl she mentored first in The Friendship Club, Jasmine Turner, aged 27. Graduate, Shilo Piper was our special guest from Seattle and spoke about Susie and Dave’s commitment to her and to her college education! Juliet Erickson was honored for her service as board president for the last four years. We will miss both of these amazing women on the board but we know that their hearts will never be far from The Friendship Club.

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We also took the opportunity to honor our 2015 Volunteer of The Year, Rick Bethel. Rick has been a volunteer driver and event support volunteer for well over five years. He was presented with a picture collage featuring girls he has driven over the years and was signed by all of our girls. Amber Sylvia and Kassie Clark, graduates of The Friendship Club, spoke about Rick’s commitment to them and of his friendship over the many years he transported them from their schools to the club. We thank Rick and volunteers like him who, often quietly, make the behind the scenes moments happen every day!

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Mick Collins and Rene VanHeel of Pay It Forward Processing were also on hand to present The Friendship Club with a check for $3,343.10. Many thanks to the businesses that have chose to support The Friendship Club through the Pay It Forward program. We will share more about this awesome opportunity and how you can be a part of it as well as honor our businesses in January! Thank you Mick for your continued advocacy of The Friendship Club!

 

Friendship Club Receives Grant from Capitol Network

Capitol Network Check Presentation

The Friendship Club received a $5,000 grant in December to support our ongoing programs. Erin Sullivan, a local resident and member of Capitol Network recommended The Friendship Club and advocated on our behalf. This was the first year an organization in Nevada County was a recipient of this grant. Capitol Network is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of public and private professionals who work in and around California’s state capitol. Capitol Network’s members are government relations, administration, communications, and legislative professionals. Capitol Network raises funds for charitable organizations that serve the needs of women and children in California. Thank you to Erin for your interest and for bringing The Friendship Club to Capitol Network’s attention!