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Who We Are

Mission & History

Our Mission is to promote personal development of youth through positive one-on-one role modeling.

The Friends Program of Kearney is a supervised volunteer program designed to provide a close adult relationship for young people identified as having special relationship needs by their elementary counselor, teachers and parent/guardian. The young person is carefully matched with a caring adult mentor in a relationship supported by the program director. The mentor relationship can impact one’s lifespan in a positive way. 

Who are Big Friends? Big Friends are considered community adults, college or high school students who are matched with elementary-age children who are considered Little Friends. The matches, FRIENDS, will meet for at least one school year where the mentoring relationship will flourish the lives of both the Big and Little Friend. The Big Friend and Little Friend designate at least one hour a week for a one-on-one commitment. We understand the complexities of time and life events and we also place great importance on this designated time commitment to ensure the most impactful mentorship possible. 

Who are Little Friends? Little Friends are elementary-aged children identified as having special relationship needs by their elementary counselor, social worker, teacher and parent/guardian. A parent/guardian must give permission for acceptance of their child into the program and be present at the time the match is made. Safety is of utmost importance. No match will be allowed to engage in any activity or be considered complete until a match meeting is conducted. 

The Friends Program currently serves young people within the Kearney community as well as two rural school-based programs located in Ravenna and Pleasanton.

The Friends Program of Kearney has been supporting and changing children’s lives through positive one-on-one role modeling for over 45 years.  Since the program's inception in 1978, the program has impacted more than 3,500 children.