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December 18, 2012
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Building a bright future for at-risk girls

When at risk girls in our community join The Friendship Club in 6th grade, only 36 percent of them believe they will graduate from college. By the time these girls are high school seniors, 80 percent believe they will graduate from college and 100 percent believe they will be successful.

When these young women leave The Friendship Club, they are empowered to face life’s challenges and build a bright future.

For nearly 20 years, The Friendship Club has been giving girls at risk vital support to keep them active, engaged, and on a positive track toward success.

Even in these challenging times, our community steps up with time and money to help make this possible, understanding that as a grass roots organization The Friendship Club simply would not be in our community without their continued support.

Without The Friendship Club, at risk girls can fall victim to the lure of drugs and alcohol, drop out, or become pregnant before they are ready.

At the heart of The Friendship Club are core values we provide to the girls – trust, safety, hope, respect, confidence and empowerment – to help transform their lives and overcome obstacles.

Every day, the girls have access to a stable environment and safe place to do their homework, get a healthy snack, form friendships and are inspired by a committed staff and volunteers who mentor and are interested in their lives.

The Friendship Club is bustling with fantastic activities and services to provide emotional, academic and social support to 100 girls per year, including:

— 160 after school meetings

— 40 field trips in and out of the community

— 20 volunteers a week as drivers, guest speakers, snack preparers and homework helpers

— On-site computers, a library, and workout area

— More than 2,000 hours of community service from the girls and 15 community projects

— Visiting 10-15 colleges and universities

— Scholarships to qualifying seniors and alumnae attending colleges in California and Nevada

— 4,500 meals

— Basic clothing and school supplies

By participating in lives of these girls, we make Nevada County a stronger and more wonderful place to live.

I know from personal experience, as board president and one of the Club’s “Angel mentors” who has made a long-term commitment to be involved with one of the girls from when she entered the program through high school.

My colleagues and I at The Friendship Club are paving the way for girls at risk to become professionals, leaders, mothers and compassionate members of our community.

With the generous support we receive from local residents and businesses, we can offer these girls the helping hands they need to improve their lives.

Juliet Erickson is board president of The Friendship Club.

Without The Friendship Club, at risk girls can fall victim to the lure of drugs and alcohol, drop out, or become pregnant before they are ready.


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The Union Updated Dec 18, 2012 09:07PM Published Dec 18, 2012 07:40PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.