Stories / History
How It All Started in Austin
Dear friends of Friends Austin,
One short year ago this movement to bring a consistent, caring adult – “Friend” – to the most vulnerable kindergarteners in our city was funded by just over 50 local individuals and families. Since then, as a result of your partnership, the Austin chapter of Friends of the Children has gone from a dream to a well-established reality.
In our inaugural year we created our organizational infrastructure. We also built a diverse and extraordinarily qualified Board of Directors, along with three advisory boards – our Executive Advisory Board, Community Champions Board, and Community Leaders Council. We recruited, trained, and onboarded nine full time staff members, including our four remarkable founding Friends.
Most importantly, we partnered with the Austin Independent School District to seek out and serve our community’s overlooked children. We now have 32 youth enrolled in Friends Austin! The challenges facing these children are extreme. Equally intense, though, is the enthusiasm and dedication of our staff who serve them. During their four hours together each week, Friends and their youth build academic, social emotional, and life skills in intentional and creative ways. Our network wide database is used on a daily basis and allows us to track not just inputs but also outcomes for the youth we serve.
As we close our first year at Friends Austin, we look forward to growing this program to reach every child who most needs us. This summer our Board underwent a strategic planning and scaling process detailing our plans for growth while not just maintaining but also continuing to build and improve our processes and programming.
Thank you for your belief in the revolutionary Friends of the Children model, and for your generosity in bringing it to Austin’s most vulnerable children. Together we absolutely can break the cycle of generational poverty in our city.
Rachel Arnold, Board Chair
Nancy Pollard, Executive Director