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Through our evidence-informed peer-to-peer mentoring program, middle and high school students discover and grow their own strengths and potential, developing the skills, values, and connections they need to lead a fulfilling life and contribute to family, school, and community well-being.


is a classroom-based, peer-to-peer mentoring program that engages and supports students to make positive life choices and build healthy relationships. STARS provides students the opportunity to discover themselves and build upon their skill set through our three core elements of self-awareness, healthy decision-making and MentorLife®, which means to always invest in someone and always have someone investing in you. STARS mentors receive training and mentoring from their program coordinator, then they in turn are paired with no more than four mentees where they lead activities and opportunities for discussion. Through the program, students are able to strengthen their leadership abilities, discover and practice positive social and emotional skills around mental health, healthy relationships and decision-making, gain confidence and feel valued.


Our hope is that students learn to recognize their strengths, struggles and influences and that they become able to manage them in positive ways.

Healthy Decision-Making

Healthy Decision-Making teaches students to believe they have control over their decisions and understand that choices they make today will impact their future and the lives of those around them.


It’s been proven that having a mentor has a positive and powerful impact on a teen’s life. MENTORLIFE® means students always have someone investing in them and in turn they invest in others.



With a commitment to learning and evaluation, program design fidelity, observation, and oversight FRIENDS FIRST has been recognized with a gold badge by National MENTOR and the National Quality Mentoring System for the effective use of best mentoring practices within our STARS Mentoring Program. Most recently,
we were a contributing partner in the national publication of the Peer Mentoring Supplement for Elements
of Effective Practice Mentoring™ 4th Edition through National MENTOR.  


Project AIM

FRIENDS FIRST facilitators meet with Project AIM participants for 12 sessions covering topics including planning,

future orientation, positive and negative influence identification, career exploration and communication skill-building.

When students graduate from the program, they emerge with a professional portfolio, business cards and a letter

of recommendation. Students who complete Project AIM are more likely

to have increased pro-social behavior, heightened academic performance, empathy skills, community engagement, family connectedness and positive

peer relationships.

Parent and Community Education

Our dynamic programs, facilitated at our STARS National Conference, engage the community in the work of supporting youth.  These programs include renowned speakers who facilitate trainings, small group discussions, and projects that educate, empower and develop stakeholders to become allies in helping teens to be successful now and in the future. Participants walk away with contacts in the field of youth empowerment, new ideas and innovative approaches to working with teens.

Education and Leadership Conferences

These programs, conducted annually at our STARS National Conference, equip stakeholders in their roles as teachers, parents, supporters and mentors of all young people so that they have the tools, skills, pathways and positive role models to reach their goals, dreams, and full potential.


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