Girls are recruited primarily from area middle schools and high schools with a focus on girls entering the sixth grade. Each Spring, educators and other youth-serving professionals are encouraged to complete our online referral form for girls who are facing challenges at school and/or home, but who are also eager for support and interested in making good choices for their future. As a prevention program, The Friendship Club is focused on girls who may otherwise “fall through the cracks.” They may not yet be in dire straits but they are likely living in an environment that makes them vulnerable to risky behaviors and poor choices.
Each girl who is referred to us is interviewed in the spring, typically between April and May, and then each parent/guardian is interviewed afterward to guarantee that the goals of this long-term support program are understood and supported by the family. See below for links to the online referral forms. Girls who are accepted into The Friendship Club begin our program in time for summer camp and other summer activities we offer.
A referral is not a guarantee in joining The Friendship Club, especially for older girls. Each girl is considered on an individual basis and the group that she is joining is also taken into consideration. We strive to keep our cohorts at a size that allows maximum support for each girl and must consider the group dynamic. The Friendship Club program staff is comprised of credentialed teachers, but not counselors, and we are not equipped to take girls who are diagnosed with major mental illness or behavioral challenges.
Risk factors include but are not limited to:
- Single parent home, living in kinship care or foster care
- History of drug and/or alcohol abuse in the home
- History of domestic violence or neglect in the home
- Incarcerated parent
- Prolonged illness and/or recent death of a parent
- Academically deficient with little support at home
- Economically disadvantaged with little to no access to activities
Here is our recruitment video for more information:
Please note that we bring girls into The Friendship Club in the Spring/Summer each year and that we do not offer a rolling recruitment. This allows the formed groups to move forward uninterrupted throughout the academic year. Girls join in the summer and are integrated into their cohort in a more relaxed program setting.
Educators who wish to refer a girl to our program: please fill out the educator referral form online.
Other people who work with youth (i.e., social workers, mental health professionals, doctors, pastors, nonprofit employees, etc.): please fill out the youth serving agency referral form online.
If you are a parent and would like your daughter to be a part of The Friendship Club, please ask her teacher or school counselor to complete the educator referral form above.
If you have any questions about referring a girl to our program, please contact Associate Director, Dena Valin Malakian, at (530) 265-4311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.