Charlotte - Natural Awakenings

26 Charlotte Edition AwakeningCharlotte.com community spotlight F riends of the Children, a national orga- nization based in Portland, Oregon, with a successful model of providing the most vulner- able children with long-term, sala- ried, professional mentors from kindergarten through high school graduation, is awarding $600,000 to Charlotte-based Thomp- son Child & Family Focus to launch a Friends of the Children affiliate here, enabled by a federal matching grant from the Social Innovation Fund. With children at greater risk for dropping out of school, substance abuse, incarceratifcion and teen parenting, research has shown the most important factor for breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty and building resiliency in children is a long-term, consistent relationship with a caring adult. Friends of the Children’s evidence- based model works: 93 percent of youth avoid involvement in the juvenile justice system, 83 percent graduate from high school and 98 percent avoid early parenting. Moving mentoring out of the volunteer-dependent format en- sures the quality, consistency and com- mitment needed to break the cycle of poverty for the most vulnerable youth. With more than 130 years of ser- vice to the community, Thompson has worked to fulfill its mission to strength- en children, families and communities through healing, teaching, worship and play. Today, the agency is the most comprehensive provider of clinical and prevention services for chil- dren and families across Mecklen- burg County. The Friends of the Children Charlotte model will begin by identifying 5-and- 6-year-old children facing the highest risks. They will be chosen for the program by a Friends of the Children risk and needs assess- ment tool, in class observations and the recommendation of the targeted school teachers and administrators. Because a 2013 Harvard University report on inherited generational poverty ranked Charlotte dead last in the nation, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force made suggestions for improvement, and this program by Thompson is the first long-term solution to be proposed. The program will begin serving 16 youth in the first year. By year five, the goal is to serve 192 youths, com- mitting to each of them for 12.5 years, no matter what occurs along the way. Thompson is based in Matthews, North Carolina, and the children involved in the program initially, will be from one school, and ultimately, will be selected from all around Charlotte. Will Jones, president and CEO of Thompson, believes Friends are more than mentors; they are life navigators, saying, “This program has more than two decades of data showing that it addresses both systemic and individual challenges. For children and families facing otherwise insurmountable odds, this program prom- ises to change their life trajectories.” At-Risk Youth Get Big Break by Martin Miron [R]esearch has shown the most important factor for breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty and building resiliency in children is a long-term, consistent relationship with a caring adult. Make your community a little GREENER … Support our advertisers. For every $100 spent in locally owned business, $68 returns to the community. source: the350project.net (704) 380-3722 1420 Fern Creek Dr Statesville, North Carolina www.NaturalBeginningsNC.com A Natural Birth and Wellness Center offering OB/GYN care including Birth Center and Hospital Births What Our Patients Say: “I recommend them to anyone who would rather feel like FAMILY than another patient.”- T “Once I went for a tour with my husband we knew immediately that this was the place for us despite the fact that we would have to travel from Charlotte to Statesville to receive the care we wanted. That was the best decision we made. ”- K Where Birth Comes Naturally

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