A Message from our Executive Director

Now that the dust has settled and we are officially moved into our new location, we can get back to focusing on our #1 priority – our girls! There is nothing more special than our Graduation and Scholarship Dinner coming on May 10.  This is a chance for our girls to be recognized for their hard work and perseverance through challenging times. We will recognize five girls this year and while they’ve all been members of The Friendship Club for nearly seven years, their stories could not be more different. We pride ourselves on being here for girls as individuals as well as members of the Club. As each young woman grows and her interests and passions become clear, we are here to help provide connections and opportunities that help her set her direction for the future. This is all made possible, of course, by donors and volunteers who help make this the best place for young women to thrive and grow. Please consider attending our Graduation and Scholarship Dinner this year. This important event raises funds specifically for our Academic Year Program and Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are awarded to girls upon their graduation and are renewable for four years. Girls are encouraged and supported to apply to four-year, two-year and vocational opportunities as appropriate. Guests at the event have the pleasure of hearing first-hand from our girls about their experiences in The Friendship Club, their plans for the future, and how their support makes a difference.  If you are interested in attending, please call (530) 265-4311 for more information. This event requires an RSVP and will fill up fast!

New Location Means New Opportunities for Our Girls

Each of our locations over the years has offered an opportunity for growth and expansion of our after-school and summer enrichment programs. One of the aspects of our recent move that has us most excited (aside from the more spacious activity rooms) is access to a beautiful outdoor activity space. At our previous locations, finding a safe space to conduct outdoor activities could be challenging, which meant that we had limited possibilities. However, our current space makes available an area with a lawn and trees, as well as access to a softball field. Access to this space will help us to integrate more overall outdoor time. This is important because there is a growing body of research indicating that contact with nature and time spent in the outdoors can have beneficial health effects. Time spent in contact with nature has been associated with better psychological well-being, better decision making, better overall physical health, quicker recovery from illness, and an overall reduction of stress. We are looking forward to maximizing the potential of our new outdoor space and bringing our program to a new level of health and fun!

Join Us as a Friendship Club Volunteer!

A national study, called the ACE Study (for Adverse Childhood Experiences) was conducted by Kaiser and the U.S. Center for Disease Control with 17,000 adult participants1.  It found a significant relationship between childhood stress and trauma and adult chronic disease. Some of the ACE indicators include witness to domestic violence, being a victim of abuse or neglect, alcohol and other drug abuse in the home, parental separation/divorce, mental illness in the family, death of a parent, and parent incarceration.

The greater number of adverse experiences a child has, the more likely he or she is to engage in drug/alcohol abuse, suffer from depression, and/or develop chronic diseases like heart, lung, and liver disease. The study also showed that even if the adults with ACEs DID NOT engage in unhealthy behaviors, they were still more likely to suffer from chronic disease due to the effect childhood stress has on the developing brain. ACEs literally change the brain structure and puts children in a constant state of fight or flight stress response. Science also shows that the stress from ACEs impact the part of the brain that regulates impulse control, which contributes to unhealthy behaviors.

Here are some of the findings of this national study:

  • 67% of participants had at least 1 ACE
  • 5% or 1 in 8 participants had 4 or more ACEs
  • The higher the ACE score, the poorer the mental and physical health score. Those with higher ACE scores are 4.5 times more likely to have depression.

This is how our Friendship Club girls compare to these studies:

  • While 20% of the 17,000 participants nationwide in the ACE study had three or more adverse childhood experiences, 47% of the girls served by The Friendship Club have been traumatized by at least three adverse childhood experiences.
  • 83% of TFC girls have lost a parent through separation or divorce compared to 23% in ACE study (also worth noting, 1 in 4 TFC girls are being raised by someone other than a parent)
  • 81% of TFC girls have a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse in the family compared to 27% in ACE study
  • 41% of TFC girls have experienced physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse compared to 28% in ACE study
  • 36% of TFC girls have a parent that has been or currently is incarcerated compared to 5% in ACE study
  • 40% of TFC girls have been exposed to domestic violence in the home compared to 13% in ACE study

The most important things families and communities can do is provide supportive relationships to children with ACEs and teach them resilience skills such as stress management and healthy communication. The Friendship Club program provides this very support to our girls and paired with our long-term, comprehensive approach, we are able to provide girls the positive environment they need to thrive and grow into healthy young women. In addition to the exposure to positive life experiences and academic support, we excel in providing girls with supportive relationships between each other, our professional staff, mentors, other volunteers and community members.

By investing your volunteer time in this comprehensive and critical support program, you are helping us build resilience in our girls and helping us intervene in their lives while there is still time to mitigate the effects of ACEs. YOU are saving their lives.

Here are a few of the ways screened volunteers can help at The Friendship Club:

  • After School Driver: Give a girl a ride from her school to The Friendship Club for her meeting
  • Supper Crew: Cook nutritious suppers with guidance from our Meal Program Coordinator
  • Mentor: Work 1:1 with a Friendship Club girl, training and support provided by our Community Engagement Manager

 Please contact Cindy Hintz, Community Engagement Manager, at cindyh@friendshipclub.org or call (530) 265-4311.

 1 American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1998, Volume 14, pages 245

 

Make Your Support of The Friendship Club Sparkle!

Join Stucki Jewelers for this fun celebration April 12-14 and make sure to select The Friendship Club as the organization you want to support if you make a diamond purchase!

A Message from our Executive Director

We have some exciting news for you. We are growing and we are moving to a NEW location! Although our move is due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control and change is never easy, “every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change” and it is with that spirit that we announce our move to 200 Litton Drive in Grass Valley at the end of this month.

As a grass roots organization, The Friendship Club and the girls we support have had the benefit of close relationships, community partnerships, and generous community support. The Friendship Club girls have thrived for over 23 years because of your generosity.

You can help make this important transition a smooth one! While we were the recipients of a relocation grant, we ask for your consideration today to help us close the gap. Our move necessitated cancelling our spring fundraiser, The Power of the Purse. This event typically raises $30,000 in the form of monthly donations. Please help us reach our goal!

With nearly 2,000 additional square feet of indoor space and a huge outdoor space, our expansion will include a larger garden, a BBQ, picnic and grassy area for summer activities. We will also embark on a commercial kitchen build – an essential asset as we provide nearly 5,000 meals to our girls every year.

You are no stranger to our girls and the challenges they face. You have encouraged them to persevere in the face of adversity. You give them HOPE, the number one determinant of success.

I feel like I grew up in our current location and it is hard to imagine a new Friendship Club space but I know it will be bigger and better and eventually I will call it home too. It’s the people I love that make this the best place to be!      ~ Friendship Club girl

We hope you will take advantage of upcoming opportunities to tour the new location and learn firsthand how your donations make a difference in the lives of girls at risk in our community. We promise you will be inspired.

With gratitude,

Jennifer Singer                                                                                Lauren Stowe

Executive Director                                                                         Board President

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars for our upcoming events!

A Message from our Development Associate

Relationships, “the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected”. At The Friendship Club we have the unique opportunity to form many different relationships. We have relationships with our girls, our staff, our volunteers, our board members, our donors and our community. That’s a pretty big circle of friendships.

My name is Tiffany Scudero and I have had the pleasure of working at The Friendship since June 2016. For about the first year of me working here I was a Youth Development Assistant and got to work one on one with our girls. That work was such a joy and a wonderful opportunity. My favorite part about the relationships I had the opportunity to build, was the feeling of making a difference (even if it was just listening). However, this past summer I switched gears and am now the Development Associate.

As the Development Associate my circle is different and I’m learning so many new things. Instead of working with girls, I have the chance to build relationships with donors, volunteers and our community. It’s a fascinating new world. I have been blessed with the opportunity to go to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy next week to learn about Principles and Techniques of Fundraising!

I am so eager to learn about fund development, because without it there would be no Friendship Club. However, it isn’t just fundraising that I’m excited to learn about; it’s also the relationships that you build before you ask someone to support the organization financially. Anyone can ask someone for money, but I want people to feel connected to our cause and feel like they to are making a difference in the lives of the young ladies we serve. I want to learn the ins and outs of what makes a good development officer. I want to learn how to build relationships that are lasting and mutual. I am so enthusiastic about this next chapter with The Friendship Club!

I am grateful to be apart of such a wonderful team and look forward to my future here.

Developing Leaders

Research relating to youth development and youth leadership supports the idea that the development of any person is shaped by their decisions and interactions rather than something that just happens to them. By providing a space where participants can seek supportive relationships and safely experiment with decision making, youth development programs, such as The Friendship Club, are building the agency of its participants. Actively involving participants in their environment, seeking their input, and providing choice all build the agency of the youth participants.

One of the ways in which we help our girls develop their sense of agency is through the Leadership Council, which is comprised of girls in grades 7-12. Girls participating in this group meet monthly in addition to their normal meeting. They are selected to participate in leadership based on their participation, demonstrated leadership skills, and leadership potential. Leadership Council explores various topics involved with leadership and being a role model, with an additional focus on community service. On average, girls in leadership participate in approximately 60 hours of community service per year through various community organizations.

As part of the Leadership Council experience, each year girls organize and host a spaghetti dinner and dessert auction. All the details, from the date and time, to the ticket sales and advertising, to the cooking and serving, are planning and executed by the girls. Over the course of their year, they learn to brainstorm, problem solve, create, time manage, and teamwork.

Our 6th Annual Spaghetti Dinner and Dessert Auction will be held on Saturday, April 7, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at the Grass Valley Veteran’s Hall.  If you are interested in donating a pie or cake for the dessert auction, please contact Denise Tambasco, Program Director for the details. We hope to see you there!

 

 

RESTART the New Year

By now, we are well underway with our 2018 New Years goals/resolutions.  Have you been able to keep your goal(s) front and center? Was one of those goals to be healthier in 2018? Give back to the community? If so, we have great news! You can do both! Local certified nutritionist, Tiana Rockwell, from Wholesome Beet Nutrition, has partnered with The Friendship Club to offer The RESTART® Program. All proceeds from this program will go directly to the Friendship Club. This program is a simple, powerful way to give your body a vacation from sugar and processed foods. With a 3-week sugar detox built right in, the program focuses on how to use REAL FOOD to boost your energy, reduce inflammation and get rid of sugar and carb cravings. The group is limited to 10 participants so everyone can get the support they need to have success. The group meets weekly for 1 1/2 hours to discuss things like: how to optimize digestion; the importance of proper blood sugar regulation; the truth about fats, which ones you should be eating and which ones you should be avoiding; and tools to help you discover your own personal diet that will help you be your best. Tiana was trained at the Nutritional Therapy Association where the curriculum is based around using a nutrient dense whole food diet to help heal the body. Tiana believes that everyone is unique in their nutritional needs and the RESTART® program can help you figure out what those needs are.  This program is part nutritional education, part sugar detox, and part support group which makes for a very powerful combination. Melanie S. says: “I was surprised at how much sugar I was eating, and how it was negatively affecting my body. RESTART® completely changed the way I look at food and how I feel about my body. I highly recommend this program!”  During the program, participants get many ideas for new and tasty recipes to use while on the detox. Ann L. says “I was surprised by how tasty meals can be with the list of allowable foods and how easy it was to find a routine that worked, tasted good and gave me energy.” If you have been looking for a program to be a part of that will support your health goals in 2018, while giving back to the Friendship Club, look no further. The program will meet Wednesdays from 12-1:30pm for 5 weeks in a row, starting on February 7, 2018. Classes will be held at the Wholesome Beet (204 West Main Street, Suite 115, Grass Valley) and the total investment is $189. You can get more information and reserve your seat in the program by visiting www.TriRealFood.com or calling (530) 802-2268. Class space is limited and will fill up fast. Sign up now and discover how good you can feel!

A Message from our Executive Director

Our Holiday Reception on December 4th brought together our donors and volunteers, board, staff and girls to celebrate 2017 and the impact Friendship Club has had on all of us. While our formal mission is to engage, educate, and empower girls at risk, I can tell you that the impact we have had on everyone involved in The Friendship Club is inspiring.   There is just something so genuine about the spirit of family and community that The Friendship Club has created, it truly is my favorite event of the year. At the reception we honored some very special individuals who have made important and lasting contributions to The Friendship Club. First, we honored Dr. Sean Rockwell and wife Tiana and their incredible team at the Dental Wellness Center for their generous and continuous support of our girls and their dental health. Their generosity, averaging $20,000 in dental services annually has absolutely made the difference for many of our girls. Some of them had never seen a dentist before they walked in the door at the Dental Wellness Center. Still others, facing anxiety were calmed by their Rockwell’s sweet dog who has since passed. In honor of the Rockwells and their late dog, Alex we say thank you for their support, attention to our local girls and theirgenerosity. Next, we thanked outgoing President Marty Lombardi. I met Marty about four years ago and he has been involved with The Friendship Club ever since. For those of you who know Marty, you know how important this community is to him. Since moving here from Ukiah he has immersed himself as a servant leader. He has shown great leadership as our board President over the last two years. Marty’s passion lies in helping children succeed and whether it is girls at The Friendship Club or students at Nevada Union, Marty can always be counted on to show up, support and be a role model for generosity. We also honored Associate Director, Dena Valin for nearly five years of service to The Friendship Club. Six years ago, I was faced with a personal reality that made me re-think the leadership needs at The Friendship Club. There is something about having some distance from your work that suddenly things become quite clear. Especially when you are on maternity leave with twins. I knew that for The Friendship Club to continue to thrive that I needed help. And I knew just the person I needed. Almost five years ago, Dena Valin Malakian joined The Friendship Club as our Associate Director (although at the time, she was still Dena Valin, but that’s another story!)  She brought program management, evaluation, and leadership experience that we needed and I can say that since that time the organization has only grown stronger. Dena also brings a dedication and love for our girls that inspires me. She has served as a great emotional support to our staff, our girls and their families, and to me. I am grateful every day to have her on this journey with me and I thank you Dena for your commitment to our girls. Seven years ago, we welcomed our first graduate, Jessica Reiter back as an administrative assistant. No matter the challenge Jessica exemplifies grace. Life has not dealt her the easiest of hands, but she continues to inspire me with her steadfastness. I have indeed, watched her grow up, meeting her at the age of ten. It has been an honor to be her boss for the last seven years.

It has been a tremendous 2017 and next year will bring a host of new opportunities, challenges and adventures! Stay tuned for more on our plans for 2018!