Friendship Club keeps girls in school |

Friendship Club keeps girls in school

Special to The Union

To engage, educate and empower girls at risk in Nevada County.

The Friendship Club is a prevention program reaching girls before they engage in unhealthy behaviors. We teach girls life skills, personal responsibility and the value of hard work through a year-round program of educational activities, emotional support and community involvement.

The annual budget is $500,000. Most of our income comes from local people, businesses and private foundations.

The Friendship Club primarily is operated by more than 200 volunteers with support from seven paid employees.

Founded in 1995, the idea for The Friendship Club came from Mary Collier, director of the PAL program in the Nevada City School District. She noticed teenage girls who had become too old to be eligible for the program continued to ask for guidance and support.

Collier founded the Friendship Club with Amanda Chavez and current executive director Jennifer Singer as a week-long summer program with 15 girls.

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Now, we serve 100 girls annually.

Girls at risk in grades 6 through 12.

Anyone, regardless of age and gender, who is passionate about strengthening our community by improving the quality of life for every child, has a place in the program, whether as a donor or a volunteer.

“The Friendship Club gave me hope when I was hopeless” – Michelle Schmidt, graduate

Developing the after-school program, which is the cornerstone of the Friendship Club. Our girls gather weekly with a staff of credentialed teachers and volunteers who provide steady emotional support and engage the girls in themed lessons and supervised homework sessions.

Exposing hundreds of girls through the years to a wide variety of educational experiences has allowed them to succeed in school and beyond.

Expanding the summer program has brought many new opportunities and exciting activities that keep our girls active, engaged and productive. Activities include a summer camp for each age group, a weekly reading club, sports and art clinics and valuable community service.

Providing scholarships for over 25 girls attending college.

We need to find Friendship Angels for more than 30 girls. An angel’s role is to be a friend and mentor and to meet with her girl at least once a month.

Increase the number of people and businesses making annual financial commitments by donating monthly or quarterly, creating a steady and reliable source of revenue.

Our third annual Run for Friendship 5K Run/Walk and 10K Run is our largest fundraiser, and it’s scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010.

It’s open to everyone – elite runners, moms with strollers and everyone in between. The event is one of the Gold Country Grand Prix races.

Call us at (530) 265-4311 or visit


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