The Gresham based organization reaches Portland area youth with a mission to build relationships that elevate kids and families and make our community stronger.
Family of Friends is a personal passion project of Ponzi's Associate Winemaker, JP Pierce. We asked JP to share a bit about what inspired his support of this great organization.
"Family of Friends would give 6 weeks’ worth of training and place us with a family in our area who had a child at risk of not graduating high school."
"In late 2014 my wife Heidi and I were looking for ways to give back and forge a deeper connection with our community in Portland. After coming across an online post from Family of Friends, we decided that becoming mentors for at-risk-youth in our area was a perfect option. We would be given 6 weeks’ worth of training and be matched with a family in our area who had a child at risk of not graduating high school. We could share our free time, imagination, love, and joy, with some young boy or girl who needed exposure to new experiences they couldn’t otherwise have.
All of the children in Family of Friends come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds but similarly share stressors in their home life that would keep them from succeeding in school and from having opportunities we take for granted. As mentors, we get to share anything we do, A to Z with some great kids (our family has 3 siblings), and in return we get to be a part of building a stronger community. Heidi and I are very fortunate to be a part of our mentee’s life for these last 3+ years, and remain a voice and ears to someone growing up it a tough situation. "
Family of Friends' mentoring program matches volunteers with kids for a minimum of one year, though relationships often last for several years, and beyond. The mentor and mentee get together weekly for outings in the community. The organization's website shares the key benefits to this program, which was founded in 2003: "Kids get access to another trusted adult and fun activities, parents get an advocate for their child, and volunteers get to share their time and experience. Everyone gains a deeper understanding of the world around them."
We invite you to visit Ponzi Vineyards this month and join us in support of this valuable organization. A portion of every tasting fee will be donated to Family of Friends.