Befriend-A-Child Service Project

In June, the Befriend-A-Child Mentor Program participants attended the annual Celebrate Fairfax festival!
Several mentors and mentees met for lunch at Ledo Pizza in Fairfax and then headed over for some local fun and rides.

Befriend-A-Child mentors and mentees
gathered for a group photo before the festival.

Mentees Bradley Binns and Kurt King
were looking confident as they prepared to "hang glide."

Mentor Helene Hammer and her mentee, Alejandra Linares,
had lots of laughs as they chased each other in bumper cars.

Mentor Terri Riley and her mentee, Ariana Davis,
gave nice smiles before they entered the haunted house.

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.

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.

How We Work

Children from ages 5-12 are matched one-on-one with volunteers who are trained to serve as mentors and friends. In addition to spending one-on-one time together, the mentors and children participate in monthly educational and social group activities, such as the holiday party, performing arts workshop, hayride, tour of the Washington Post, and community services project.

BeFriend-A-Child mentors are carefully screened, trained, and supervised by social workers. Mentors agree to spend a minimum of eight hours a month and at least twice a month for one year with their mentees.

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.

Interested in Becoming a Mentor?

To request an application, please contact Carolina Deras, M.S.W., 703-324-7072 (TTY: 703-222-9452). Provide your:

  • Name
  • U.S. mailing address
  • Email
  • Work and/or home phone and the best time to reach you
  • A brief description on why you want to become a mentor, how did you hear about our program, the work you do, and paid and/or volunteer work experiences

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Rave Motion Pictures (Fairfax, VA)
Commonwealth Consultants
Crowne Plaza Hotel at Tysons Corner
Ultra Laser Tag
Barber D.M.E. Supply Group
Subway (Fair Lakes Shopping Center)
Washington Sports Club
The Humane Society of Fairfax County
Temple Beth Torah
Protocol Partners - Washington Center for Protocol
The Eta Delta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, not affiliated with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.


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Watch a video explaining the
BeFriend-A-Child Program

Befriend a Child

Give Your Heart a Real Workout
Become a Mentor

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

BeFriend a Child

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

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