A Mentoring Program Built on Friendship


Friends for Youth’s goal is to create quality mentoring relationships for youth who need them most and to close the mentoring gap for the 1-in-3 young people who grow up without this critical support. Our 1-to-1 program provides youth with a volunteer mentor who cares about them and takes the role of a stable, safe, and supportive adult figure in their lives.



Mentor in Your Community

Volunteer mentors are matched 1-to-1 with a youth, ages 8-17, living in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Our program includes either a 1 year or 6 month commitment to ensure youth develop a long-term, trusting relationship with their mentor. Friendships are carefully matched according to interests, hobbies, and skills, with consideration of where mentors live and work.

Mentor in Redwood City CA

How it Works

Friendships meet weekly in the community to do fun activities based on their interests and goals. They receive consistent support from Friends for Youth's staff, and are provided with unique opportunities such as field trips and life skills workshops. Mentees develop important social and life skills and are able to access new opportunities through their mentor.

Through the WHY Mentoring? Whole Health For Youth initiative, mentees are given health and nutrition education and are provided support and coping strategies for mental health issues.

Friendship Stories


90% of our matches complete the one-year program, far exceeding the national average for similar programs.  Many of our Friendships exceed their program commitment and stay in touch for years after completing the Friends for Youth program.

Our Youth

Our youth are referred to us by counselors, teachers, and healthcare professionals due to their struggle with multiple challenges. Most live in single-parent households whose household income is below the poverty level. Some have an incarcerated parent, have witnessed or been a victim of domestic abuse, or have been involved in gang violence.

Many suffer from emotional or behavioral issues, social and academic difficulties, and a general lack of experiences and opportunities. Having a caring adult role model that they can trust allows them to navigate life's challenges while making positive choices about their future.

After a year in our program, 100% of our mentees stayed in school, 80% avoided school suspension, 100% avoided or decreased drug and alcohol use, 75% experience less bullying or bullied others less, and 80% said they had improved skills at dealing with challenging issues.  They have better grades, avoid engaging in risky behaviors, and show more interest in higher education and career planning.


"Young adults who have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor."

- National Mentor Partnership, The Mentoring Effect: The Young People's  Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability  of Mentoring