The Friendship Club turns twenty years old this year and we are grateful for the support you have provided us in those twenty years. In celebration of our anniversary we have some exciting things planned. To kick the year off, we hope that you will check out The Union today where Brian Hamilton outlines a special series that will spotlight The Friendship Club and the many people we have touched over the years. Not only have we influenced the lives of several hundreds of girls, we have created a community of volunteers, board members, donors and staff that make up The Friendship Club family.
You and people like you have been the backbone of The Friendship Club for twenty years. Many of you remember when we started the organization, you sat on our first board of directors, you donated those first dollars to help get us started, you believed in us when were just an idea, and we hope we have made you proud in the last twenty years. In my experience and after knowing many of you for many years, I see that people and businesses that support The Friendship Club seem to have one common denominator: you believe in helping one girl at a time and you know that making an investment in young lives now will pay off tenfold in the future.
While we have some long-time friends, we have also made many new friends along the way. Through our events, our volunteer opportunities, and our community service we have touched the lives of many people in our community who have jumped on board to support our girls. I say “many” and not “plenty” of new friends deliberately because we will continue to seek support from new and old friends alike as we contemplate quality of our programs, depth of our service, and growth of our organization. We will need more support in the coming years and that support will translate into even more success, more lives transformed, more opportunities for our community to help girls at risk realize a bright and productive future. The need for our program has not dissipated over the years, but has in fact grown, as families struggle with difficult economic realities, drug and alcohol addiction, and mental health challenges. The Friendship Club has refined and strengthened our program in the last few years and we are ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
Our graduates live in and out of our community, they are going to school, they own businesses and homes, they are raising families, and they are paying taxes. They are thinking about how they can Pay It Forward and give back to a community that has been generous to them. They are happy. They are healthy. They are our future. They are realizing their dreams because of you. Thank you.