Thanks to the generosity of Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, SCHEELS, Mary and Bill Underriner, The Echo Fund, and Kim and Pat Lewis, Friends of the Children – Eastern Montana launched in the fall of 2022. In collaboration with our partners, we are gearing up to enroll our first cohort of youth in spring of 2023! We’re excited to meet the children and families who will become part of our lives for the coming 12+ years. Our Friends are paid, professional mentors who stay with our children from Kindergarten through high school graduation, no matter what. We disrupt generational poverty, give children hope and belonging, and grow with each child.

We aren’t just changing the stories of children facing the highest risks. We’re changing the collective stories of Eastern Montana for the long run. Our work is focused on one child at a time, but it affects our entire community.

Our Land Acknowledgement

In alignment with the values of Friends of the Children – Eastern Montana, as an organization we acknowledge that our chapter is located on Apsáalooké (Crow) lands that were home to Indigenous people since time immemorial. We acknowledge that we will never be able to replace what was lost. In the operation of our chapter, we are committed to respecting the inherent sovereignty and unique cultures of the first peoples of this land.

Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit organization that selects and invites youth – all of whom have unique talents, interests and dreams, and face multiple systemic obstacles – to be paired with a paid, professional mentor called a Friend. We hire and train Friends to support our youth from as early as age 4 through high school graduation – 12+ years, no matter what.

Our model is distinct, courageous and proven. We revolutionized the youth mentoring field by creating the first and only long-term professional mentoring program in the country. We are experts in building sustained and nurturing relationships with youth.

This is at the core of what we do. Each child gets a dedicated, one-on-one Friend who listens to their hopes and dreams. Friends empower our youth to set – and achieve – their goals. Friends also create meaningful experiences that empower youth to build life skills and make healthy choices while exploring the child's diverse talents and interests.

Our model is real, and it works.


Impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what.


Our values guide us to achieve our mission. Each value applies not only to our youth, Friends and program teams, but also applies to all Friends of the Children employees, volunteers and partners. We use our values to make informed decisions; to hire, coach, and manage; and most importantly, we use our values to change the way the world treats and views the youth and families we serve.

Put Children First

Put Children First

We intentionally serve youth who are facing the greatest obstacles. To help our youth discover their limitless potential, we foster their internal resiliency. We listen to our youth and base decisions on each youth’s needs and dreams. We prioritize self-care so that we bring our best selves to our work and focus on our youth.

Build Relationships on Love

Build Relationships on Love

We nurture long-term relationships from a foundation of love, acceptance and culturally-informed practice. We don’t give up easily and take a no matter what approach to our work. We commit for the long-term. We intentionally develop collaborative relationships over time with trust, empathy and healthy communication. We believe that we build community through one-on-one connections that are authentic, respectful and meaningful.


Commit to Empowerment

We leverage personal strengths to take ownership of our futures. We build relationships within the communities of our youth and families to strengthen social networks and provide bridges to new opportunities. We consistently inspire possibility through empathy, hard work and fun. We model all of this for our youth, families and each other.

Pursue Goals Relentlessly

Pursue Goals Relentlessly

We celebrate all achievements, big and small. We are disciplined in our commitment to goals, while innovative in how we reach them. We believe that the definition of success requires intentional reflection and adjustment over time. We work together and hold ourselves accountable with data to achieve short and long-term outcomes.

Demand equity

Demand Equity

We acknowledge the historical and present injustices impacting marginalized communities. We demand equity from ourselves and from our community. We insist that all people have the necessary support to achieve all of their hopes and dreams. We amplify the voices of our children, families and communities. We bring together different experiences, skills and backgrounds to provide opportunities to overcome personal, systemic and institutional barriers.