A Message From Our Executive Director

Our Graduation Dinner and Scholarship Dinner held on May 11th was truly a magical event. With a theme of transformation, we celebrated our graduating seniors, learned more about their lives and dreamt with them as they imagined their futures. I was proud to report to our guests on a promise I had made last year. It was a promise that the leadership at The Friendship Club was about to leap into a new era – one that welcomes, develops, and expands our alumnus into full-fledged staff members.  I am here to tell you – it worked! With your support, we have transformed The Friendship Club staff and program by adding four amazing young women this year, serving as youth development assistants and a development assistant. I am proud to say that three of them are graduates of The Friendship Club!  We have learned so much in the last year about how our girls and the lessons they learned at The Friendship Club, which have helped shape them in being excellent role models and leaders for our current girls. They hit the ground running, they have a deep loyalty, and they bring insight, new ideas, and patience. We heard from Tiffany Scudero, Youth Development Assistant about her journey through The Friendship Club, early adulthood, college, starting a family and now as a staff member.

We celebrated the achievements of six seniors, Ariona, Michael, Kahlan, Trisha, Abby, and Brandy. They shared their awkward and challenging beginnings, the transformations they made through their teen years with the help of The Friendship Club and then revealed their plans for life beyond high school. I’m proud to say that college is in their future. We then had the chance to hear from Cheyanna Brock-Jiminez, a 2016 graduate and current CSU Sonoma Freshman. Her speech brought the house down as she shared how much she has learned in her first year of college, how she was faced with news of her mother’s cancer diagnosis, but able to help her through that and not having to worry about the financial burden because she had scholarships to count on. She was able thank the team of people she said brought her to that point; “I couldn’t have gotten through everything without the help of everyone that surrounds me. The Friendship Club has continually supported me throughout my college experience. They are always there when I have a question, or need a helping hand, or if I just need someone to talk to. And to know that I have an entire group of people rooting me on, I feel invincible. I keep the lessons that I’ve learned at The Friendship close to my heart as I continue through school. I remember what’s best to do in social situations, I know how to do a fantastic resume, I know how to give a proper speech. They gifted me these abilities. They prepped me for what I’m doing now. My angel Lisa Macrina has never forgotten about me. She’s one of the first people I tell things to when I have news. When I’m back home, I always make sure to pay a visit. Lisa is amazing. She has helped me with letters of recommendation, with my FAFSA, basically with everything! But more importantly, she has been my friend… she has given me great advice and lessons that are always in my mind. She is truly my guardian angel.” Cheyanna said.

It’s moments like these that remind me just how impactful our program is on the individual lives of our girls. It’s not only the staff and the program that makes this difference, but also the people who come into their lives because of The Friendship Club. At the end of the day, we’re devoted to building a community one relationship at a time. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that does that. Thank you to all who have supported our girls, our academic year program, our scholarship fund. Now, it’s time for summer programs to ramp up!

Celebrating Summer- By Denise Tambasco

As the school year winds down, The Friendship Club is gearing up for another amazing summer, which includes ushering in a new group of approximately 20 girls.  Over the course of the summer, we will host 5 week-long summer camps (one for each cohort of girls). Camps provide an opportunity for teambuilding, community service, safely expanding boundaries, and experiencing opportunities outside of our community. Activities are designed to challenge girls, build relationships, motivate them for the coming year, and inspire them to dream big.

Aside from camps, The Friendship Club will host an additional 7 clinics this summer: horse care and interaction, glass fusing and jewelry making, sewing, cooking, archery, cookie decorating, and photography.  Clinics are 2-3 days and open to girls from each cohort, which provides a unique opportunity for our older girls to act as role models for the younger girls in the program and for cross-age friendships to blossom while learning new passions and strengthening skills. Alongside camps and clinics, The Friendship Club will also host 6 “Fun Fridays” this summer, which promote outdoor activity and literacy. In the morning, interested girls will join staff and volunteers for hiking the local trails and having picnic lunch, while enjoying some amazing scenery. In the afternoon, girls will have the opportunity to gather at The Book Seller, in downtown Grass Valley, for story time and to choose a book, which is theirs to keep. We then spend the rest of the afternoon together reading outside and enjoying the summer breeze.

Although this may seem like an already-full calendar of summer events, there are an additional 8 one-day activities and outings that will be offered this summer- from local musicals and movies, to art workshops to a River Cats game in Sacramento! Additionally, with the help of our amazing volunteers, we will serve 1800-2000 meals and snacks, and provide approximately 75- 100 rides for activities over the course of our summer program. If you are interested in helping support any of our summer program, like providing a meal for an activity, giving rides for one of the camps or clinics, or helping a girl attend a camp, we would love to talk to you! Summer 2017 is set to be one of the best yet- we hope you can join our girls for a memorable adventure!

A Message from our Executive Director

Spring is a busy time at The Friendship Club! When is it not a busy time here?! But Spring to me represents transformation and that is what we are all about at The Friendship Club.  We are actively recruiting our new crop of girls, receiving referrals from teachers, counselors, and social service agencies from around the County. The stories of girls and the struggles they face at home and/or at school, as well as the lack of connection and consistent support are overwhelming. They are stories that can break your heart. But we know that transformation is around the corner for them and that by joining The Friendship Club they are on a path to a brighter future, one that will be filled with opportunity, connection, positive relationships, and a hope for a better tomorrow. They will also be challenged to work hard, set goals, expand their horizons, and held accountable for their decisions and behavior.

We have high expectations for our girls and they rise to those expectations time and time again. There is another form of transformation happening this time of year. The transition from high school to college is never an easy one but it is always an exciting time. Girls are preparing for their next steps. Many of our seniors are already enrolled for college in the Fall and are putting the finishing touches on their senior projects. We have seen tremendous growth in this last semester. We also face those bittersweet feelings. After all, they’re our girls and we will miss them dearly! We have spent the last five to seven years getting to know them, helping them thorough challenging and sometimes heartbreaking experiences, we’ve helped them shape their plans for after high school and have made sure they have the resources, skills, and knowledge needed to successfully transition to life as a young adult. We will honor our six graduates on May 11th and if you haven’t told us you are coming yet, please call us.  It is an amazing celebration of love and persistence, leadership development, and of the human spirit.

Every girl who graduates with us and goes on to college or vocational training, is eligible to receive a scholarship and we will proudly present our girls with those on May 11th.  If you would like to learn more about our scholarship programs, please consider attending our Graduation and Scholarship Dinner on May 11 or call me at 265-4311.  RSVP is required to attend the event. You can make a donation to the Friendship Club general program or scholarship program by clicking here, or call us for information about making your gift.

Music Motivation-By Denise Tambasco

On March 19, ten girls from The Friendship Club attended a sold-out concert by tenThing, an all-female brass ensemble from Norway. The ten-member ensemble was led by Tine Helseth, renowned as one of the best trumpet players in the world.

During the two-hour concert, girls listened to both classical and contemporary works from around the world. Many of the arrangements were original for brass which gave a new sound to familiar pieces. The girls, many of whom also play musical instruments, were excited to have a dedicated space and time during intermission to speak with a music docent from InConcert Sierra about the history of the music and composers from the concert: “The talk with the docent really helped me understand where the music came from and what I was listening to. I think I enjoyed the concert more after our talk with her.”

After the concert finished, the girls had the opportunity to meet the ensemble, ask questions, and have CD’s signed. “It was inspiring to see a group of women that are such amazing musicians. It’s not something I have ever seen (a women-only ensemble). I’m so happy I got to see this!” Our thanks to InConcert Sierra for hosting the girls at intermission and providing CD’s to each girl. Special thanks to George and Claudette Paige who sponsored the girls’ tickets for the concert and whose collaboration with InConcert Sierra made this a truly special, VIP experience for the girls.

Volunteer Appreciation – By Cindy Hintz

When I have the pleasure to meet with a member of our community who has visited to tour and learn about The Friendship Club program, I describe our volunteers as the ‘nuts & bolts’ of the program. We could not hold after school meetings without drivers or our supper crew. We could not help girls with their studies without Homework Club or tutors.  We could not spread the word about our mission to engage, educate and empower girls at risk, nor fundraise, without our event helpers, who consistently produce one spectacular event after another. The opportunities to cultivate healthy relationships would be far fewer without the awesome mentors and angels who offer their kindness, caring hearts and time to Friendship Club girls.

A fairly new type of volunteer entered the scene at The Friendship Club two years ago: Team Volunteers. We were so fortunate to be assigned a team of volunteers through LiNC (Love in Nevada County), whose objective is “to coordinate a unified community service effort between over 20 different Christian congregations inside Nevada County, California.” This team of volunteers spent several hours on a Saturday spring cleaning our commercial kitchen, classrooms, lobby and office spaces. They even helped us prepare our garden for the next round of planting. Last Saturday, during National Volunteer Appreciation Week 2017, the LiNC crew came for their second year in a row. After one year, we were so in need of another spring cleaning! We are so grateful to: Kristi, Diane, Cindy, Jake and Cloe! We sparkle and shine just in time for Summer Program to begin in June.

If you are reading this article and your interest has piqued, please contact me, the Volunteer Manager, to set up a time to tour The Friendship Club, and to learn about all the different ways our community members serve. While I describe our volunteers as nuts and bolts, the real truth is Friendship Club Volunteers are ordinary people who give their heart and time to us.

“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.

~ Tracy Chapman

A Message From Our Executive Director

What are you willing to take a stand for? This is a question that was posed to me last month and a question I have been pondering ever since. For me, the answer is broad. Yes, I have chosen to take a stand for girls at risk in our community. But it goes beyond that. At the heart of what I am willing to take a stand for is my community. I love this community. I love the spirit of generosity and the cooperation I feel in working in the nonprofit community, especially. I love the quirks and flaws that make us unique. I love that when I think about a problem I want to solve or a question I need answered, I know exactly who I can reach out to. I love that I can connect our girls to resources, people, ideas, and experiences with one phone call. I love the creativity I see in business and social collaborations. I have chosen to channel that love of community into the girls we serve, by creating a microcosm that serves our girls but also serves everyone who touches this organization. We build and foster relationships that build community.

I believe Nevada County is stronger today than it was twenty years ago and I believe The Friendship Club has played a role in that. We have our donors and volunteers and teachers and counselors, our citizens and our girls to thank for that. I was proud to host the Power of the Purse earlier this month because it gave me a chance to educate nearly 350 people about the work we do and we gained financial support from new and returning donors. But what made me the proudest was to see my new and young professional staff (and graduates of The Friendship Club) share that they have come back to serve The Friendship Club to say thank you to their community. It is a community that has time and again taken a stand for them, gone to bat for them, invested in them, loved and encouraged them. They are here to give back. I can’t think of anything more important to take a stand for.

In Friendship,

Jenn

Expanding Horizons

For many of the girls in our program, college seems like something out of reach.

“I never imagined I could even go to college until we did our first college trip and having the support of The Friendship Club and seeing the campuses, is what gave me the drive to want to go to college in the first place.” – TFC Alumnus and Sierra College Student

 Our goal is for every girl to have a solid college or career plan upon high school graduation. While we start introducing girls in our program to college campuses in their 6th grade year with a visit to the Sierra College Nevada County Campus, our ongoing dialogue with the girls is about options and being open to possibilities. With this in mind, the college trips have become more individualized as the girls get older and they discover their preferences for the campus environment and fields of study. We also work with the seniors each week to navigate the college applications, help with writing their personal statements, and applying for financial aid.

“The college trips that we did with the Club helped me choose Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. Denise and the rest of the staff helped me fill out the application, fill out the FAFSA, and apply for scholarships. One of the scholarships I applied for was a cooking competition with 10 other high school graduates. Denise then went above and beyond and taught me how to cook a 5- course meal that won me a $10,000 scholarship!” – TFC Alumnus and Le Cordon Bleu Graduate.

 The growth of our program staff has had many benefits for the girls- one of them being the expansion of our college knowledge program. We are now able to offer monthly one-day college trips and overnight college trips during Spring Break and Fall Break. This means that our girls could potentially visit up to 10 community colleges and four-year university campuses per school year.  “The college knowledge program allowed me to see all of the possibilities for my future! The program gave me my motivation to attend college after high school. The program showed me a very real and sensible experience for what should be expected from college. I found my future through The Friendship Club!” – TFC Alumnus and Sonoma State Student

Event Volunteers are Invaluable- By Cindy Hintz

How many volunteers does it take to produce one Friendship Club fund development event? Believe it or not, often times it takes between 40-50 volunteers! Multiply that by five, our total number of major events during the course of the year, and we’re talking well over 200 volunteer opportunities!

“What kind of work would I be doing if I helped at a Friendship Club event,” you may ask?

Our volunteers help us with pre-event tasks such as: preparing rolls of raffle tickets, making centerpieces, collating program materials, addressing invitation envelopes, pick-ups, and napkin folding. So, as you can see our volunteers help us out with a lot of different tasks!

The day of the event is managed by a detailed schedule and list of tasks. As a Friendship Club volunteer, you’re free to choose the task of your liking, during the hours that fit your busy schedule. As the Volunteer Manager, I am onsite during the event to help direct volunteers, ensure everything is running smoothly and that volunteers are enjoying their time. Recently, Lisa Macrina told us “Friendly, focused, talented, cohesive, supportive and fun are just a few words to describe the entire staff at The Friendship Club. I have had the pleasure of being welcomed and supported by this amazing group of women and I have grown as a person through my volunteerism at The Friendship Club.”

Recently, we held our annual Power of the Purse Luncheon at the Grass Valley Veterans Building. This fantastic luncheon and purse raffle was attended by nearly 350 guests, who were left touched by the stories of the Friendship Club girls, alumni and staff.

Please visit our website event page for a preview of events to come in 2017. Contact our Volunteer Manager, Cindy Hintz, if you would like to learn more about volunteering for us at The Friendship Club!

A Message From Our Executive Director

The Friendship Club is successful for many reasons; we have an amazing, dedicated and 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. We also have girls who are committed to fostering a bright future for themselves by making healthy choices and giving back to their community.

I would like to thank the business community 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 and supportive 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 and productive 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’s 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 and have the opportunity to learn more about how YOU can make a difference for our girls 265-4311. Or please visit our web page for more information.

Utilizing Strengths for SMART Goals by Denise Tambasco

As the new year begins, we are taking the opportunity to reflect with the girls in the program on their achievements and memories from 2016, what they are looking forward to, and the goals they have set for 2017. Part of this process is teaching and reinforcing SMART goals- a practice of making goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. This method helps the girls identify goals that they have a greater chance of successfully achieving, because they are tangible and specific. Research shows that this technique helps individuals make more progress on their goals and also promotes a greater sense of satisfaction, and creates positive emotions.

SMART goals are an important aspect of the strength-based curriculum we are exploring with the high school girls. Through the Strengths Finder program, developed by Gallup, girls are identifying their talents and developing them into strengths, which improves engagement and interaction with their peer groups, school, adults, and other aspects of their lives. As part of this program, the girls discuss and develop their naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior which make up their talents. As the girls explore their natural skills and how they impact their behavior and relationships, they also gain tools to explore areas of interest, interact with peers and adults, and help set goals and plan for the future.