Department of Family Services - Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

703-324-7500
TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035

Oriane Eriksen,
Director

BeFriend-A-Child Program

What is the BeFriend-A-Child Program?

A volunteer mentoring program for over 40 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.

"I had expressed some concern about my son’s behavior in school. My son’s mentor met with my son, on Wednesday and that Thursday and Friday my son gave up two recess times to get caught up on his overdue work. His teacher was so impressed with his behavior and his positive attitude. The mentor has truly made a difference in my son’s life. I am so grateful for this program and of course the mentor!!" -Parent of elementary school-aged child

How Does it Work?
  • Children from ages 5-12 years whose families are involved with the 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.
  • Mentors spend one-on-one time with their mentees.
  • The mentors and mentees participate in monthly group outings throughout the year, such as:
    • Sporting Activities.
    • Arts, Crafts and Music.
    • Educational Programs.
    • Community Service Projects.
    • Annual celebrations (Family Picnic, Holiday Party, Celebrate Fairfax).
How Can You Help?

Become a Mentor

After volunteers apply and are accepted as mentors, training is provided to prepare them for various aspects of child development.

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.

For more information, email Krissa Slone or call 703-324-7751. 

Mentor and Mentee Monthly Activities

Thank you to all of our volunteers, partners and sponsors!

  • January - Bowling
  • February - Yoga 
  • March - GMU Tour
  • March - STEM 
  • April - Easter Egg Hunt
  • May - Family Picnic
  • June - Virtual Tour of the Aquarium and Zoo
  • July - Virtual Trivia Game
  • August - Virtual Scavenger Hunt
  • September - Virtual Trip to Disneyland
  • October - Painting Activity
  • November - National Parks Tour
  • December - Story and Crafts with Santa

BeFriend-A-Child Has Gone Virtual in Response to COVID-19 – Introducing eMentoring

The BeFriend-A-Child Program is now offering virtual mentoring. If you are interested in learning more about the eMentoring program, contact Tiffani Peguese by email or call 703-324-7871.

eMentoring

  • Mentors and mentees commit for at least six months minimum.
  • Mentors ”meet” with mentees at least once a week for an hour using a designated online platform once a week. This can be a video chat, email, telephone call or via text message.
  • Mentors prepare an activity/subject to discuss each week based on the mentees’ interest and needs.
  • Mentors participate in monthly mentor meetings and monthly group events with their mentees.
  • Mentor and mentee parents collaborate on the frequency of eMentoring meetings and help plan specific subjects, activities, and tasks to accomplish.
  • BeFriend-A-Child Coordinator maintains close supervision and provides appropriate support and guidance to all parties.

Our Volunteers

“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

“E-mentoring is incredibly important during these difficult times. Reaching out to give children hope and affirmation for better times ahead teaches us all to maintain optimism and to make productive use of difficult circumstances.” Scott, BeFriend-A-Child mentor

Fairfax Virtual Assistant