A Message From Our Executive Director

Wow! What an amazing summer we have been having. We have three camps down and two to go. We have seven clinics under our belt and life changing activities sprinkled throughout the rest of this fast-moving summer! Thank you to those of you who have been supporting our summer program with your amazing donations and volunteer support! It’s never too late to help us finish out the summer strong.

I have been busy recruiting race car drivers for our September Friendship 100 and soon you will be hearing from them! We are excited about the plans we have in place for the Fall and in order to make all our dreams come true, we need your continued support.  What better way to support the girls than by getting involved with The Friendship 100!  Our annual fundraiser is coming up on Monday, September 18 and we still have plenty of room for your support!  We are currently seeking sponsors as well as mini-golf teams to help round out our event. We even have room for a few more drivers. Call today to learn more 265-4311.

As a unique community event, The Friendship 100 offers opportunities to promote your business and get in front of nearly 275 community members.  We will have a lovely dinner prepared by Antonio Ayestaran and the margaritas, beer and wine will be flowing at this ADULT ONLY event.

Please look out for your invitation next month and let us know how you would like to contribute to this critical fundraiser, which will ensure the success of The Friendship Club in 2017 and beyond! To learn more about getting involved in this event, click here, or visit our FirstGiving page to support our community drivers.

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!

“Find your Passion” Mentor Program

Friendship Club Mentors comment on their experience

The most recent “Find Your Passion” Mentor Program was held from April through July of this year. In response to the question, “What has mentoring taught you about yourself?”, mentors from the program responded:

“To have patience in working with the family. How to take baby steps to help gain their trust. When its just the two of us – its easy and I’m as much of a kid at heart, love to have fun!” ~ Sandy

“Mentoring was easily as beneficial to me as it was to her. Extremely rewarding. It also caused me to set time aside for myself – to consistently do something that’s rewarding for me.” ~ Judy

 The Gift of Mentoring

Positive relationship development is at the heart of our work at The Friendship Club. From learning to develop, maintain and navigate the challenges associated with those personal relationships, it’s critical to the girls growing into competent young women of the future.  Whether it’s a staff member or a volunteer, spending one-on-one time with a Friendship Club girl enhances and supports her experience with us. While group meetings and outings are excellent for information sharing, team building and developmentally appropriate conversations, the one-on-one time is where those lessons can go one step further. During her time spent with a caring mentor, girls have a chance to have deeper, and individualized conversations about topics of interest or concern.

As a mentor, you play an important role in the life of a Friendship Club girl. Not only are you her mentor, you’re her friend and her advocate, encouraging her and providing her with a safe place to share her feelings and thoughts on her mind. She doesn’t have to share you with anyone else. This special feeling is subtle but important. The girls appreciate the opportunity to have a unique relationship with a trusted adult woman.

The Benefits of Mentoring

After years of observation, The Friendship Club can attest to the positives observed for the majority of our girls who commit to spending one-on-one time with a unique woman in our community in the “Find Your Passion” Mentor Program. Those benefits include:

  • An expanded network of caring adults and resources available to young people
  • Access to consistent support
  • A propensity to stay on track in school and with other activities
  • Support with decision making
  • A boost in self confidence
  • Support in personal development through shared advice, encouragement and modeled decision making
  • Encouragement to become role models for their peers in the club (girls with mentors seem to have a higher incidence of participation in leadership activities and community service)

Furthermore, supporting The Friendship Club’s observation, research states young people with a consistent mentor are more likely to:

  • Engage in community service activities, which also increases their sense of belonging to their community
  • More likely to attend college or trade school
  • Hold higher aspirations for their futures and educational attainment
  • Report engaging in productive and beneficial activities (sports, extra-curricular activities, leadership, community service)
  • Go on to serve as mentors themselves

How can you learn more and become involved?

The “Find Your Passion” Fall Mentor program will begin late September 2017 and end early January 2018. Mentor sign-ups are underway. Please contact our Volunteer Manager, Cindy Hintz for more information @ cindyh@friendshipclub.org  or (530) 265-4311

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