BeFriend-A-Child Program

The Volunteer and Partner Services Program  engages volunteers and builds partnerships to support families with children
who are at risk of abuse, neglect or placed in foster care or with relatives. Learn more about all Volunteer and Partner Services Programs.

Who We Are          How We Work          Our Mission         Become a Mentor          Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

See photos of  BeFriend-A-Child Program activities in NovemberSeptemberAugust, June, May, AprilMarch, February, January and all past activities in 2014.

Who We Are

A volunteer mentoring program for 34 years, BeFriend-A-Child provides opportunities for companionship, guidance and support to children who are at risk of abuse and neglect or who have been abused and neglected.

"This is one of the best things I've seen from the County!" Shared by a father about how a BeFriend-A-Child mentor has positively impacted his child's life.

Through mentoring, BeFriend-A-Child hopes to reduce some of the child abuse and neglect "risk factors" - social isolation, lack of support, and family stress; and to enhance various "protective factors" - positive self-esteem, good social skills, hobbies, interests, and good peer relationships. BeFriend-A-Child can also help encourage youth (with strong parental involvement) to make healthy life decisions and to achieve their potential.

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How We Work

Children from ages 5 - 12 whose families are involved with Fairfax County's Children, Youth and Families Division are referred by their family's CYF worker. Children are matched one-on-one with trained volunteer mentors. In addition to spending one-on-one time together, the mentors and mentees participate in monthly group outings throughout the year, such as ice skating, hiking, Celebrate Fairfax!, community service, and the annual holiday party.

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Our Mission

By connecting at-risk youth with professionally supported, caring adult mentors, BeFriend-A-Child creates a community where children feel more confident and motivated to make informed, responsible life choices and become productive, involved members of the community.

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Become a Mentor

Volunteer mentors must be at least 21 years of age and be able to pass FBI criminal record, Child Protective Services, and DMV driving record checks. Mandatory training is required prior to being matched with a mentee. Mentors and mentees are matched for two years. Mentors must be able to make a two-year commitment, spending at least eight hours every month with their mentee and participating in monthly group outings at least once per quarter. Male applicants and bilingual English-Spanish speakers are highly encouraged to apply.

To learn more about becoming a mentor and to request an application, please contact Jacilyn Skupien 703-324-7072 (TTY: 703-222-9452).

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Give Your Heart a Real Workout
Become a Mentor

Note: For more information about the BeFriend-A-Child Program,
email Jacilyn Skupien or call 703-324-7072.

"The Befriend program has been as fun and rewarding for me as it has been for the many kids it has helped. It’s allowed me to be a kid again while being a mentor to a wonderful child."

- Andy
retired accountant and school bus driver

"Being a Befriend-A-Child mentor – like being a parent – gives me the opportunity to influence one special life over many years."

- Andrea
Volunteer Fairfax award recipient, trainer

"It’s been the most profoundly enriching, satisfying, fun experience. I’d recommend Befriend-A-Child in a heartbeat."

- Mike
project engineer

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        November 2015 Activity



On Saturday, November 14, nearly 30 mentors and mentees boarded a bus and headed to the
Blue Ridge Mountains for a day away. Our hosts for the day, Commonwealth Consultants,
thought of everything- snacks and a movie on the bus, hot chocolate and rain ponchos,
a catered lunch accompanied by our very own live music performance.

The day was spent hiking part of the Appalachian Trail, playing football and kickball,
feeding horses and bouncing along on hay rides. The day provided time to enjoy the pleasures
of autumn and time to share some life lessons as well.

During the hike, one mentee appeared to be discouraged with having to take frequent breaks and shared how she was unable to make it up to the summit the year before. Her comment provided the perfect opportunity to share the story of "The Little Engine That Could." With encouragement and gentle nudging, she made it to the top. One mentor shared that prior to the outing, her mentee told her she was afraid to climb the mountain. That same mentee, seen with the leaf above, ended up being a trailblazer, zooming up and down the trail and being the first to finish the hike! These mentees shows us what can happen when we face our fears with positive thinking and a little help from our friends. At lunch, recording artist Craig Honeycutt serenaded the group, singing a song he learned in South Africa with the lyrics "I need you and you need me". What a perfect song for a group of mentors and mentees to listen to together!

Commonwealth Consultants has been organizing these special outings for BeFriend-A-Child for several years now. Bruce McLeod, executive vice president, recently shared, "The hike is a highlight of the year for everyone at our office. To see the smiles on the kids' faces, hear them laughing and just having a carefree day brings us joy. The hike can be challenging for the kids and many have never hiked before; they are nervous at the beginning but when they have completed it, you can see their satisfaction of experiencing something for the first time."

When asked what advice they have for businesses that are considering becoming a sponsor or host for BeFriend-A-Child activities or encouraging volunteerism from their employees, Bruce reflected that "Volunteering is a part of our corporate culture. We encourage companies to find ways to become engaged in their community. While Northern Virginia is one of the wealthiest areas in the country, there is still a tremendous amount of need. We have found that our employees want to be engaged in philanthropic ways. They value working for a company that cares about the community where it's located."

Thank you to Commonwealth Consultants for partnering with us to provide such a special day for BeFriend-A-Child. We're looking forward to next year!

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       September 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees made it to the Washington Nationals baseball game!

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        August 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees make (and ride) some waves at Great Waves waterpark!

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     August 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentor and mentee went to a Washington Nationals baseball game.
The tickets were complimentary thanks to Most Valuable Kids (MVK), a Befriend-A-Child partner.

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      June 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees enjoyed an afternoon at Celebrate Fairfax. 
They gathered for a bite to eat and headed over to the fair for some fun!
Thank you to Celebrate Fairfax for donating the tickets.

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   May 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees went to a DC United soccer game in downtown Washington, DC. 
It was an exciting time watching the game, seeing the mascot, meeting the players and getting autographs!
Thank you to Most Valuable Kids, Inc. for donating the tickets.

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    May 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees went to Bridle Paths at Stone Horse Farm. 
Everyone had a chance to learn about caring and grooming for horses and how to ride a horse.
They also created horseshoe art for a keepsake.
Thank you to Bridle Paths for sponsoring this outing.

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   April 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees received complimentary guitar and drum lessons from Music for Life at the James Lee Community Center. 
Each person had hands-on learning and learned to play the notes to some popular songs.

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  March 2015 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees visited George Mason University. 
They gathered to put together care packages and delivered them to residents of a local retirement community.

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  February 2015 Activity

As snowflakes began to fall on, BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees jumped, laughed and bounced to stay warm.
Thanks to Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, relationships were strengthened and memories were made with each jump.
Just as each jump took them higher, Befriend-A-Child mentors encourage their mentees to reach new heights.
Thank you to Flight Trampoline for making this outing possible. 

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 January 2015 Activity

Mentors and mentees embraced the winter season with ice-skating!

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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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