Smith Vineyard Supports TFC this Holiday Season

Smith's tasting room
Smith’s tasting room

On Sunday, December 18th, Smith Vineyard will be supporting The Friendship Club as part of its 12 Days of Giving that gives back to local non-profits in our community. On this day, 20% of all proceeds made will support our valuable programs offered at The Friendship Club. So, head over to Smith Winery and stock up on your favorite wines for the holiday! The event will be held at their tasting room, located at 142 Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley. It will take place from 12-3 p.m. on the 18th of December.

The Friendship Club appreciates having Smith Vineyard’s support of our mission to engage, educate and empower young ladies in the community to be the best version of themselves.

Reflections Skin Oasis 12 Days of Christmas Supports TFC

reflections-12-days-of-giving-flyerMargie Carr, owner of Reflections Skin Oasis, is providing support to local organizations over the 12 Days of Christmas. Today, Tuesday December 13th, is the day that 10% of all purchases will support The Friendship Club!  Stock up on your beauty needs, purchase a gift for a loved one, or give the gift of pampering with a gift certificate for one of the wonderful services provided! We thank Margie for her continued support of The Friendship Club. Margie not only contributes financially to the club, she also brings awareness about our work to the community, has provided makeovers for our graduates, and has even employed a past Friendship Club girl.

Please come out today to support TFC and to thank Margie for her long-time dedication to our girls!

A Message from Our Executive Director

jenniferThis week we celebrate Thanksgiving and I am reflecting on the past year. I have much to be thankful for and I want you to know how personally grateful I am to all of you for your investment in time and donations and to the amazing team we have at The Friendship Club. Today, I would like to thank our incredible board of directors; a dedicated group of volunteers who believe in our girls, our mission, and our community. Every nonprofit organization relies on their board of directors to provide necessary oversight and due diligence, to secure resources to ensure the organization thrives, and to share their expertise, connections, and ideas to move the organization forward in service to community. But more than that, a board of directors is the heart of the organization, keeping mission at the center of our plans and goals, keeping the community benefit at the forefront of our work, and providing the moral and emotional support to the organizational leadership so that the organization can thrive. Average turnover for an Executive Director in the nonprofit sector is 18 months – this is a challenging role with competing demands, stressors, and a changing landscape of financial resources in the face of ever increasing needs. A healthy organization needs at its helm a committed team to face these challenges together; a team that is not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do the work, a team that is encouraged to share their ideas and move the organization forward. I feel grateful that The Friendship Club Board of Directors is exactly this combination. The perfect mix of expertise and heart. They are people who do not move ahead without thought, but who move ahead nonetheless.  They are people who love and support our girls, who are personally connected to them, believe in them, and are always thinking, how better can we serve them. To Marty Lombardi, Lauren Stowe, Nanci Mason, David Jones, Machen MacDonald, Jamie Hogenson, Erin Sullivan, Cristine Kelly, Jacquelyn Chavez, and newest member Alex Gammelgard, I say thank you for your service and thank you for your support. Together we have built an incredible team.

Together we all thank YOU, our incredible community, for your continued support of our girls. You have made our Full Circle year possible. We are reaping the benefit of seeds that were sown long ago when we met Tiffany, Chelsy, Jessica, and Cassie and welcomed them into The Friendship Club. They thrived in our program as participants and are back now to influence and encourage the next generation as staff members. This could not have happened before 2016 and it is how we will move into the future. Thank you for the role you have played in investing in these young women. Please enjoy a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

In friendship,

Jenn

Responding to Girls’ Needs at The Friendship Club

Alumni gathering over dinner at TFC
Alumni gathering over dinner

Part of making a positive impact on the girls in The Friendship Club is responding to their needs whenever we see new needs arise.  Last year, we stepped up our efforts to recruit volunteer tutors and provide more girls with one-on-one tutoring in any subject they struggled with. This was in response to a growing number of girls who were struggling to pass certain subjects and felt they needed additional support.

At the beginning of 2016, we launched our new alumni program to provide ongoing support to our girls after they graduate high school and forge their way into the world with the hopes of being happy, successful adults.  Tiffany Scudero, one of our Youth Development Assistants and former Friendship Club girl, is now leading the alumni program and they are meeting once a month to talk about issues they want to learn more about, like budgeting/financing, healthy and affordable cooking, parenting and family planning so they are prepared and financially stable when they decide to start a family, etc.

This school year, we launched our Homework Club in response to an increasing number of girls who were failing classes in school not simply because they struggle to understand what they are being taught, but because they do not have anyone at home with the knowledge or time to help them complete their homework.  Also for some girls, they do not have a space at home, let alone a quiet one, where they can concentrate on their homework.  Now every Monday after school we have girls who are picked up by a volunteer driver at their school and brought to The Friendship Club to have a quiet place to study and work on their homework.  We have staff and volunteers available to help them should they have any questions or need guidance.  If you are interested in supporting any of these new programs with your time or treasure, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@friendshipclub.org or (530) 265-4311.

Ben Franklin Supports TFC This Saturday!

This Saturday only, November 26th, stock up on your holiday decorations, craft materials, or other items at Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames while supporting The Friendship Club!  ben-franklin-fundraiser_nov2016

Volunteer Keeps on Giving

lennie-holiday-craft-fair-2016

Friendship Club volunteer tutor and mentor, Lennie Malott, will be selling her beautiful handmade jewelry at the Holiday Craft Fair on December 8th and will donate 50% of the proceeds to The Friendship Club!  The Holiday Craft Fair will be in the lobby of the Nevada County Rood Center (950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City) from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Come on out for a fun day of shopping—there will be something for everyone, all hand-crafted by County employees and their families!

What:              Holiday Craft Fair

When:             December 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Where:            Nevada County Rood Center Lobby, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City

A Message from Our Executive Director

jenniferOur academic year program is well under way and our new staff team is rocking it!  The first day of meetings I walked around to say hello and observe our new staff in action and I have to tell you, I just couldn’t be more proud of our team and was so pleased to see how our new plans have blossomed with our alums on staff.  I was especially moved to listen to Chelsy as she led the girls in our annual exercise, developing a list of agreements they need to observe in order to have a successful meeting and experience at the Club.  The girls generate this list themselves and each age cohort develop their own list. At the end they sign the document and it remains up the rest of the year as a reminder. For example, girls agree to be honest, stay focused, be respectful, avoid side conversations, help each other, be ready to learn, participate, share, be trustworthy, be kind, listen, be motivated, and work together!  Wow, I think those are all amazing goals and something we can all strive for. Chelsy led them through this exercise and then reminded them: these aren’t promises you make to the staff or to anyone else, these are promises you make to yourselves and we will help you work toward these goals if you are struggling with any of them! The Friendship Club empowers our girls to embrace the role they play in shaping their lives and that working hard, being conscientious and asking for help when they need it are the ways to take control of their lives. Our girls have been dealt a challenging hand but we work with them to see that they can overcome their circumstances by focusing on their strengths, setting goals and working toward their dreams. Thank you for helping us make this all possible for our amazing girls!

Partnerships for Success

calfresh-logoThe Friendship Club has a long history of partnering with other organizations in the community to better support the girls in our program and to extend our reach beyond what we can do alone.  Although this year is no exception, we have greatly expanded our services to not only the girls, but their families as well.  Thanks to our partnership with the Nevada County Health and Human Services Agency, we are now better prepared to assist our families in the process of receiving county services when they are struggling financially to meet their basic needs.  With the help of a County grant, we are now being reimbursed for our staff time educating and assisting our families with the application process to receive CalFresh and other vital services such as CalWorks, WIC, and MediCal.  CalFresh helps families pay for food at grocery stores and can also be used to purchase food at local Farmer’s Markets or to purchase seeds to start their own fresh gardens.  We are also involved in notifying families of affordable housing opportunities as there is a major shortage in our County, and people in need cannot apply unless the process is open.  This month will be the first time in two years that people can apply for the Housing Choice Voucher program which provides affordable housing on a first-come, first-served basis (if they meet eligibility requirements).  We have a staff person working with families to notify them of the opening and to help them apply at our office since they can only apply online and many of our families do not have computers or internet service. Over the years, we have seen that although many of our families are eligible for these programs and services, they aren’t receiving them due to a lack of knowledge that they are eligible and not knowing how to navigate the application process.  We are hoping that with the assistance of a trusted Friendship Club staff, they will start receiving this much-needed assistance for their families to help reduce financial stress and to thrive.

We are also providing more assistance to families in need of mental health services and stress management.  Again, Nevada County is a great resource and we have been working closely with the Public Health and Behavioral Health departments to better educate our girls on the signs of depression, suicide prevention, stress management and coping skills, and then referring to therapy when the need arises.  Along with our own curriculum and activities that we have developed over the years, partnering with County Public Health and Behavioral Health has only augmented our program impact area of Health and Wellness.  We are hopeful that continuing our partnerships will only strengthen our focus on prevention and helping our girls grow into healthy, happy, and well-adjusted adults!

Driving Miss Friendship Club

drivingmissdaisy

Can you recall the 1990 award winning film “Driving Miss Daisy”? A film of great love and patience, a story that unfolded over 25 years between Miss Daisy Werthan, a proud old Southern lady, and Hoke Colubrun, her chauffer. Two individuals from vastly different worlds who came to know and love one another during rides in a car…..

Friendship Club Drivers are volunteers who provide rides for Friendship Club girls from their school to The Friendship Club for after school meetings, field trips, and special occasions. Many of our girl’s families are unable or unwilling to provide transportation for them. In order for girls to attend our program, transportation is a critical component, and our volunteers fill the need for rides, along with staff members.

As you have followed The Friendship Club over the course of the last several years, a consistent trend is emerging: WE ARE GROWING! Take a look at the trend in weekly rides needed for girls to attend:

  • 2013 Academic Year: Average 14 rides per week
  • 2014 Academic Year: Average 20 rides per week
  • 2015 Academic Year: Average 23 rides per week
  • 2016 Academic Year: Average 31 rides per week

This 50%+ growth is attributed to several things. The number of schools in our county is increasing, and girls are attending a greater variety of schools, including home school programs. This year we introduced Homework Club, allowing girls to come after school to The Friendship Club two additional days a week to focus on their studies in a productive environment, where peer and adult support is available. Additionally, an average of 3-4 girls work with volunteer tutors in 1:1 weekly sessions held at The Friendship Club. Program meetings, homework club and tutor sessions cannot take place without the necessary transportation. As a volunteer driver, you will come to know Friendship Club girls and feel you are part of an effective organization making this community a better place to live.

We need your help. Please contact us to find out how you can “Drive Miss Friendship Club.”

Our Volunteer Manager, Cindy Hintz, is available to bring you on board this amazing team of volunteers.  Please contact her at cindyh@friendshipclub.org OR (530) 265-4311.

5th Annual Spaghetti Dinner

spaghetti-dinner-flyer-2016The Leadership Council is composed of 12-15 girls in grades 7 through 12 who would like the opportunity to spend additional time with The Friendship Club, participate in community service above and beyond the activities in their weekly groups, and learn about leadership related topics. Involvement in the Leadership Council also provides a unique opportunity for girls to participate in a cross-age peer group while both strengthening their leadership skills and building a connection with their community. On average, girls that serve on Leadership Council complete about 40-60 hours of community service a year. As part of their learning, the girls in this group organize and execute a fundraiser for The Friendship Club. Now in its 5th year, the Spaghetti Dinner provides an opportunity for the girls to put their skills to practice: they produce the posters and advertisements, sell tickets, decorate, shop for the food, cook the meal, serve the dinner to the guests, solicit donations for the dessert auction, etc. This is truly a girl-organized and run event. We hope to see you there to support their hard work (and maybe bid on a dessert too)! Tickets are $7 in advance and can be purchased online or at our office.  You can also get tickets at the door for $10.  We hope to see you on Saturday, November 5 at the Grass Valley Veteran’s Hall Lower Dining Room, from 5pm to 8pm!