Community Breakfast to Celebrate Growth of Denver Nonprofit

FRIENDS FIRST annual event honors mentors, contributors from past year

Greenwood Village, CO (Sept. 4, 2017) – Denver nonprofit FRIENDS FIRST will host the second annual Rise & Shine With the STARS Community Breakfast to celebrate the organization’s growth as well as the teens and community members who have made that development possible.

The Rise & Shine with the STARS Community Breakfast will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Falls Event Center in Littleton, Colo. This year, the nonprofit hopes to increase their reach to those unfamiliar with FRIENDS FIRST.

“Our growth in the last year has given us the opportunity to share our mission to educate and mentor teens with so many new people,” said Elycia Cook, FRIENDS FIRST executive director. “This event is the perfect opportunity for people in the Denver area to learn about our work educating and mentoring teens in Colorado and across the country.”

In the last few years, FRIENDS FIRST has expanded its STARS Mentoring Program outside Colorado, with partner locations in eight states. Partners implement STARS, Students Teaching About Relationships and Success, an evidence-informed, peer-to-peer mentoring curriculum where high school-aged students mentor middle school-aged students.

Approaching its 25-year anniversary in 2018, FRIENDS FIRST continues to set itself apart in the field of mentoring.

“We’re becoming a thought leader,” said Cook. “Where in the past we focused on running our own programs, bogged down in the grant funding process to keep the doors open, we are shifting our attention to spending more time at conferences, training others to run our programs and sharing our successes.

”This follows the STARS program’s concept of MentorLife™, which encourages participants to always have someone investing in you, and always be investing in someone else. With this in mind, FRIENDS FIRST is working to close the national mentoring gap where one in three teens is without a mentor.

At the breakfast, awards will be presented to Geoffrey Torres, 2017 MentorLife™ Community Partner of the Year, and Zachary Croom, FRIENDS FIRST Teen Mentor of the Year. Torres has three children who have participated in STARS at Prairie View High School, and has become one of the organization’s biggest community ambassadors. Croom, a senior at College Prep Acadamy in Denver, first started as a mentee and then became a mentor in the STARS program. He will share his story, one that exemplifies what the STARS program can do for young adults. Starting out as a troubled teenager, Croom has become a leader in his community, interning at FRIENDS FIRST, and also speaking at events to share the impact of mentoring on his life.

Tickets are free to the public, with table and event sponsorship opportunities still available. Please contact event coordinator Alex Eubanks for more information at 720.981.9193 or email


FRIENDS FIRST, founded in 1993, educates and mentors teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships through various teen and community programs offered locally and throughout the U.S. For more information about FRIENDS FIRST and its programs please call 720.981.9193 or email


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