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
- 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).
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, contact one of the BeFriend-A-Child coordinators by email or call 703-324-7072.