Project Friendship

Focus Area: Youth Development

Grant Amount: $7,500

Located in Northfield. Project Friendship (PF) helps children develop self-confidence, self-worth and a foundation for healthy decision-making. It provides mentoring relationships with college students from St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, serving children in 2nd-7th grade from the Northfield School District identified as needing a mentor. Half the children served are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and 15% are Latino or African American in a community where the total population is 3.8% Latino and .8% African American. Youth are matched with mentors from similar backgrounds or with similar interests, with a focus on building confidence, inspiring character, and creating connections. Currently 215 children are involved with Project Friendship working with 230 mentors.

Grant supports creation of a CARES (promoting Compassion, Awareness, Respect, Empowerment, and Support) team to help create a bridge from a Covid environment to post-Covid functioning. A key focus of this effort is the emotional wellness of both mentees and mentors due to the impact of Covid. The program has enlisted the aid of school social workers at the middle schools attended by many of the youth.