We Had a Ball, Year of Fun-filled Group Activities

As Friends for Youth’s 2011-2012 fiscal year comes to a close (March 31), the Mentoring Services Team is reflecting back on the group activity highlights of the past year.

Group activities are designed with multiple goals in mind. First and foremost, they provide Junior and Senior Friends opportunities to build their relationship and develop new skills in a fun supportive setting. Second, they help introduce Friendships to other matches in the program and provide a pro-social setting for mentee-to-mentee interaction. Some activities, such a Senior Friend Groups, are designed to provide ongoing training and education to mentors, as well as a social space for volunteers to share their experience with each other. In addition, most group activities provide Junior Friends with a chance to engage in new opportunities, visit new places, and enjoy their youth. Through these fun activities and most importantly the Friendship of their Senior Friend, Junior Friends thrive and improve their self-esteem, school performance, and have a better outlook on the future.

In the past year Friends for Youth has offered more than 40 group activities for Friendships and also distributed free tickets to more than 15 special events. These activities and opportunities have exposed Junior Friends and Senior Friends to various cultural events, including local art and music opportunities. Other activities have focused on spending time outdoors in nature, sports, and health and fitness activities.

This year Friendships participated in community service group activities such as restoring our local wetlands, spending time with the elderly, and working in a community vegetable garden that provides food for those in need.

Life Skills Workshops got the conversations going on topics such as alcohol and drug prevention, stress management and suicide prevention, and how to interact respectfully and peacefully with law enforcement.

Great fun was had at our Beach Extravaganza in Half Moon Bay where Friendships competed in a scavenger hunt, flew kites, and dipped their toes in the Pacific Ocean. We danced up a sweat at the Hip Hop Dance Lesson and made memories that will last forever at the Gap Studio Friendship Portraits. We learned about the business of an auto mechanic shop and played dodge ball, soccer, and basketball at our annual holiday party!

Free tickets were provided to Friendships to see local sports teams, including the Giants, A’s, 49ers, Earthquakes, Sharks, SaberCats, and Warriors. Also, free tickets to local museums, attractions, and performances were distributed to venues such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Academy of Sciences, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Alcatraz, Disney On Ice, Nutcracker Ballet, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and Adobe Voice Live with the Black Eyed Peas.

In addition to our Mentor Mixers, Senior Friend Groups were held on topics such as Are We Having Fun Yet? and Dealing with Difficult Issues.

The Mentoring Services Team would like to THANK so many people and organizations for their support of our program: Community Access Ticket Service, San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A’s, Golden State Warriors, our Mentoring Institute Program Director Sarah Kremer, Redwood City Police Department, Photographer Darren Ferriera and the Gap Digital Photo Studio, Nothing But Hoops, Fresh Lifelines for Youth, Community Street Jam, Mae de la Calzada and Lady Parts Automotive Services, Bay Area Mentoring, Save the Bay, Lytton Gardens, ABC 7 Live, Senior Friend Antonia Lindsey, Senior Friend James Farrey, Senior Fried Judy Cronin, Board Member Dave Rozzi, and the many donors who contributed to our Groupon Campaign, who made next month’s Friendship snow trip possible. More details to come on that!

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