In 1991, Duncan Campbell set out to determine the best way to transform the most vulnerable children’s lives. He was determined to find a way to help children that were grounded in solid research, was focused on quantifiable results and considered the return on investment. A two-year research project identified that the best way to create real change is to start working with children early and provide each of them with a long-term, consistent relationships with caring adults.
Based on these findings, Duncan founded Friends of the Children in 1993. Over the last 20 years, Friends of the Children – Portland has grown has served more than 425 children.
Duncan wasn’t finished! For over 30 years, he has hoped to see the Christian faith community serve vulnerable children through mentoring. In January 2013, Duncan Campbell was introduced to Josh White, the lead pastor of Door of Hope Church in Portland. Duncan shared his vision for the church to be an active participant in serving the needs of vulnerable children in the city. Together with Josh, they formed a vision to birth a faith-based mentoring program out of Door of Hope. This program would become Faithful Friends Mentoring Program.
Faithful Friends began in March 2013 and now has twenty church partnerships and over 70 active mentor/mentee matches.
Faithful Friends is a community-based mentoring program that provides children support and stability through relationships that encourage personal growth and inspire hope.
The program matches volunteer individuals, couples and families with children ages 6 through 9 for mentoring relationships. Mentors can be matched as individuals, couples or families who commit to build caring, safe relationships with the children and are living examples of their values. The mentor/mentee matches meet 3-4 times each month and commit to at least 1 year. Almost 70% of our matches have continued into a second year and over 50% into a third.
Activities between the mentor and mentee are a collaborative decision – the child is included in the mentor’s everyday activities. This may mean cooking a meal together or going to the park. It may also include helping the child with academic, artistic, social and other life skills.
We partner with the local church to find and train mentors. Each mentor enthusiastically and patiently includes a child in family activities, building trust between true friends. We applaud them and thank them for their dedication and believe the lives of each of them, both adults and children, will be enriched by this experience.
Children are referred to Faithful Friends by a parent or caregiver, local schools, and other community partners. We believe that the lives of our mentees will be forever changed by their participation in this program. The children and their families in turn change our mentors’ lives by giving their time, attention, and friendship. We care for and nurture them, support and protect them in every way possible.
The parents and guardians of the children we serve give us a precious gift – the opportunity to spend time with their child. They are the most important people in the child’s life. We respect them, thank them for this opportunity, and seek to champion them as they do the incredible work of raising children.