FRIENDS FIRST Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary with Rising STARS Gala on Nov. 3 at Mile High Station

Rising STARS Gala | Celebrating 25 Years of MentorLife® set for Nov. 3, 2018 at Mile High Station

Denver, CO (Oct. 10, 2018) – FRIENDS FIRST, a Colorado-based nonprofit that educates and mentors teens, will celebrate its silver anniversary on Nov. 3 at Mile High Station during the Rising STARS Gala. Founded in 1993, the nonprofit has served nearly 400,000 teens in its lifetime. At this lively event, FRIENDS FIRST will recognize the many supporters, donors, volunteers, and staff who have contributed to its work. They will also attempt to raise $75,000 as plans for the future of the business and the urgency to serve more youth loom large.

“MentorLife® is trademarked by FRIENDS FIRST and means to always have someone investing in you and to pay it forward by always investing in others,” says Elycia Cook, FRIENDS FIRST President & CEO. “Based on that concept, our peer-to-peer mentoring programs have the capacity to reach so many more teens than the traditional 1:1 mentoring approach. As we start the next 25 years, our focus will be on scaling our business model to expand our programming services and to continually increase brand awareness.

FRIENDS FIRST’s unique peer mentoring model (STARS or Students Teaching About Relationships and Success) is led by adult staff members who serve as a program facilitators/mentors to older high school students who are matched with younger high school or middle school mentees for an entire school year. The FRIENDS FIRST STARS programs serves approximately 35 schools in Colorado yearly, with additional programs at schools throughout the U.S., totaling more than 5,000 students and adults impacted each year.

“Every teen can benefit from having a mentor,” says Cook. “Our STARS students tell us that it is cool to have a mentor who is also a student just a little bit older to connect with for guidance, support, and to more easily relate to what they are going through.” STARS program outcomes include improving youth mentors' view of their future selves, increasing college readiness and decreasing high-risk behaviors, while mentees see an increase in peer support and grit (Corona Insights, outside evaluator on STARS, 2017).

As FRIENDS FIRST holds the Rising STARS Gala to celebrate twenty-five years, guests will be greeted by STARS students serving as fans and paparazzi as they walk the Hollywood-style blue carpet and take celebrity-style photos. The event features local celebrity co-host Steve Staeger of 9News “Next,” live performances by the STARS students, and one of Colorado’s top DJs spinning songs for ending the night with dancing. Surely an event not to be missed.


Time: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Date: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018

Location: Mile High Station

2027 Old West Colfax Ave., Denver CO 80204

Tickets are available for purchase at by clicking here.

About FRIENDS FIRST 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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