MISSION: At FRIENDS FIRST we educate and mentor teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships.


OUR VISION is to empower all teens with tools, knowledge and positive role models to make choices leading to healthy relationships and successful futures.

Our programs focus on three core values.


  • Healthy Relationships: FRIENDS FIRST believes that healthy relationships provide the foundation for successful futures.

  • ​​Teen Empowerment: FRIENDS FIRST believes that by providing teens with tools and support, they will make decisions that lead to positive life choices.


  • Community Engagement: FRIENDS FIRST believes in engaging the community to rally support for teens in their decisions to pursue healthy relationships.



Our Unique Approach

In the Denver Metro area there are approximately 20,000 teens at risk every year. These are often students who are underserved and live in locations where there are fewer after school opportunities. Many come from broken homes, lower income families, abusive homes, and lower community connectedness.

Students who are at risk are more likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse, join gangs, become teen parents, and not graduate from high school or have employable skills. Many do not have mentors or role models. Providing them with these makes a difference and helps them succeed. It also helps the community by supporting youth who become a productive part of the community and give back.


FRIENDS FIRST programs provide these teens with tools, knowledge and positive role models that empower and help them make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships. We have six programs (see them here) that address these as well as community programming that includes parent education.

Our Highly Unique PREVENTION Model

Our unique peer mentoring model takes place in small and large groups with each middle school mentee matched to a high school mentor for the duration of the school year.

Full Time Staff

FRIENDS FIRST staff serve as program coordinators/adult mentors.

Year-Round Support

We provide programming throughout the school year.


We stress recognizing & replicating healthy relationships, community engagement, and MentorLife

Student Mentors

Cross-age peer model. High schoolers mentor middle school mentees.

Our Stories