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 AprilMarchFebruaryJanuary
and past activities in 2016, 2015 and 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 Lindsey Henderson 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 Lindsey Henderson or call 703-324-7072.

“I can say without reservation that volunteering with this program has forever changed and deepened my life. I will remain eternally grateful for having had this opportunity and feel proud to have been part of such as excellent program.”

BeFriend-A-Child mentor

“This is not just great for the kids, but I think it is great for us adults. I think I spend more time talking with my friends about all the cool things [my mentee] and I have done over the past year and how instrumental you and the program has been than even sports…lol”

- Brad M.
BeFriend-A-Child mentor since 2015


"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

befriend a child group photo

befriend a child group photo

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    April 2017 Activity

BeFriend-A-Child mentors and mentees enjoyed a hayride tour of Cows-N-Corn, a working dairy farm in Fauquier County. After a delicious picnic lunch, mentors and children explored the farm. They saw a variety of barnyard animals, and had fun making their own butter and making a chia pet “dirt baby” to take home and grow. They especially enjoyed eating ice cream and desserts freshly made on the farm.

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   March 2017 Activity

On Saturday, March 25, 2017, BeFriend-A-Child participants volunteered in the community with our partners from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Mentors and mentees visited the residents at Sunrise Senior Center of George Mason. The children and their mentors created gift bags for the senior residents, played cards and helped during a jewelry making class. Afterward, the group toured the George Mason campus and watched the ladies' softball game.

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  February 2017 Activity

On February 25, BeFriend-A-Child participants made room in their lives for art, books, pizza and fun! Ida Damkilde, our Volunteer & Partner Services intern, led this art event. It was sponsored by Dominoes and community members, Linda Schulz and Ginna Greenbaum. Mentors and mentees were encouraged to make a "Tree of Gratefulness." Together, they adorned each tree with leaves that express things in their lives that make them grateful. Children were also able to choose from an array of books donated by Oakton High School.

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 January 2017 Activity

This month, a dream came true for our kids. After gearing up with high-tech vests and phasers, they enjoyed a fun and fast-paced game of laser tag with their mentors! The Blue Team came out on top most of the day, and all of the children were able to learn about sportsmanship and good competition during this incredible event. Afterward, the kids and their mentors enjoyed pizza at Ledo's. Thank you to Dee Gutierrez, who sponsored this dream event for the children.

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

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