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.

See photos of BeFriend-A-Child Program activities in SeptemberAugustJulyJuneMayAprilMarchFebruaryJanuary
and past activities in 2016, 2015 and 2014.

What is BeFriend-A-Child?

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

"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.

By connecting at-risk youth with professionally supported, caring adult mentors, BeFriend-A-Child strives to create 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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How Does it Work?

Children from ages 5 - 12 years 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 an annual holiday party.

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How Can You Help?

Become a Mentor

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.

What to expect:

  • Volunteer mentors must be at least 21 years of age.
  • FBI criminal record, Child Protective Services and DMV driving record checks.
  • Mandatory training prior to being matched with a mentee.

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

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        September 2017 Activity

On Saturday, September 16, mentors and mentees set sail on the 2nd Annual Sailing trip in Patuxent, Maryland. After a delicious BBQ lunch provided by the Navy Patuxent Sailing Club, everyone was able to experience the sailing life - steering the boat, raising the sails, and gazing at wildlife (including bald eagles and schools of fish)! Some participants enjoyed corn hole, bocce ball, and Rummikub before heading home to Virginia.

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       August 2017 Activity

In August, BeFriend-A-Child participants were treated to a day at Watermine Family Swimming Hole in Reston! They had their fill of frozen desserts and water slide fun. All the smiles and splashes were a great way refocus the kids before school starts. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this wonderful day, including the Soteropoulas family, Watermine Staff, Fairfax County Park Authority and the dedicated mentors!

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      July 2017 Activity

On Wednesday, July 26, the BeFriend-A-Child crew set out on an adventure to Kings Dominion. Mentors and mentees were entertained by the thrills of roller coasters, plunging water rides and the 650,000 gallon wave pool. Most of the children in the program had never seen such a place! Thank you to The Hope Foundation for making all of the screams and dreams come true.

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     June 2017 Activity

During June, BeFriend-A-Child partnered with Ledo's Pizza to provide a great lunch for the program's mentors and mentees. Then everyone had a packed afternoon, riding carnival rides and exploring the tents at Celebrate Fairfax. Mentee's bonded with the mentors and were fearless when taking on the rides. With the presence and encouragement of a safe adult, mentee's continued to expand their horizons. Thank you to the mentors for your enthusiasm and dedication! Thank you to Ledo's Pizza and Celebrate Fairfax Staff for making this such a great day.

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     May 2017 Activity

Held in scenic Lake Accotink Park, families and children enjoyed the awesome meal cooked on site by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the annual BeFriend-A-Child picnic. There were lots of fun activities for families and mentors including raffles for gift cards and door prizes, an egg toss, cake walk, a water balloon fight, and face painting provided by Creatives by Christine. Thank you to all our sponsors including Diane Rieger Photography who made this event great for our families and children!

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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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