A Note to Our Parents About Our Virtual STARS Mentoring Program

To Our Students and Parents,

Our country has never dealt with a crisis like COVID-19 or experienced the significant impact it is having on our way of life. In the midst of this disruption, we know your priority is to maintain a safe environment and a sense of normalcy for your children.

You are receiving this letter today because your child is enrolled in the STARS Mentoring Program as a mentor through their school and we want you to know that our Board of Directors and staff share this same priority. We understand that there are a lot of logistical, financial and emotional roadblocks that come with this level of uncertainty that we are all facing right now as well as the massive changes taking place with virtual learning within school districts. We want you to know that we are fiercely committed to weather this storm with you and your children.

Over the past two weeks, our Programming and Administrative Teams have been working diligently on various methods to deliver our programming in a thoughtful, healthy and productive way so that your child can still experience all the STARS Mentoring Program has to offer in a virtual way.

Starting Wednesday, April 1, 2020, FRIENDS FIRST will be utilizing Facebook as our platform for delivering modified voluntary programming content. We will utilize our organization’s main Facebook page as well as private group pages per STARS Mentoring Program School and classroom. The decision to use Facebook was for several reasons: its ease of use and access, and its safe and confidential group offerings and content delivery methods. Our main goals in this initiative is for you to feel comfortable and confident in who is connecting with your child, create a positive and educational experience, and provide an avenue for productive and supportive discussions.

Here is an outline of what you can expect:

· FRIENDS FIRST main Facebook page:

o Monday postings: Fact or Fiction, practical skills and resources and other informational or inspirational content

o Wednesday postings: Group art projects, yoga, meditation and other forms of healthy outlets

o Friday postings: Movie watch parties and virtual field trips

· FRIENDS FIRST closed group Facebook pages:

o Each closed group page will be by invitation only to student mentors who are already enrolled in the STARS Mentoring Program at their school

o Each closed group page will consist of the student mentors and one FRIENDS FIRST Program Coordinator

o The closed groups will continue to be monitored per the established rules around kindness, appropriate content, and respect

o Structure: Program Coordinators will establish a schedule for the group, called MentorLife® Hangouts, so you and your student know when they will be posting and interacting. Postings/interactions will occur two or three times a week in addition to virtual office hours for students to interact with Program Coordinators on a one-to-one basis if desired

o MentorLife® Hangouts Schedule of Events: HILO time, discussion, and activity

o Topics: Topics will be student-driven from our curriculum and within our program’s three core elements: self-awareness, future focus and MentorLife®

We are delighted and welcome the opportunity to continue interacting, educating, and mentoring with your child. If you have any questions or concerns about this programming initiative, please contact our Program Team Manager, April Montoya at amontoya@friendsfirst.org Thank you for your consideration and participation. We are honored to be a part of your child’s life and look forward to continuing our mentoring journey together.

Stay safe and healthy,

Elycia Cook, President & CEO

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