Bright Futures for Youth program helps teens and young women connect, develop new skills, overcome challenges, and receive services when needed.
Anxiety, bullying, evolving friendships, hard-to-meet expectations, peer pressure, social media – and, of course, school. It has never been more difficult being a teen.
But through hard work, working together and the help of The Friendship Club, eight young women are well prepared for the next chapter of their lives. The young women graduating from the program were celebrated during The Friendship Club’s 22nd annual Graduation and Scholarship Dinner on May 10 at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.
Whether attending college or trade school or entering the workforce, the Bright Futures for Youth program has helped pave the way for a stronger foundation – and future – for the graduates.
“Being a child and young adult has never been more difficult, from the anxiety that so many face to the uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring,” said Jennifer Singer, Executive Director of Bright Futures for Youth and co-founder of The Friendship Club. “As we all know, the emotional challenges and physical changes as a teen are tough, but when you add peer pressure and the demands of school, it can become overwhelming. These young women have excelled with their commitment to each other, themselves and to their community.”
The Friendship Club offers an after-school program, hands-on life-skills classes, in-person group meetings and get-togethers, and even college tours and summer camps. The program also provides a range of services, including healthy meals, clothing and access to health care and counseling, if needed.
The Friendship Club also assists young women with college applications and financial assistance – and offers its own scholarships for graduates enrolled in college or vocational training. The scholarships are possible thanks in part to a generous investment by David and Barba Nurse to the organization’s endowment in the memory of their mothers and encourage others to contribute to honor important women in their lives.
“The Friendship Club is committed to helping young women in so many ways, from developing lifelong friendships to life-changing experiences,” said Greg Bulanti, President of the Bright Futures for Youth Board. “The Friendship Club is about building a bridge for a better future and success. And whatever that requires, we are here to help.”
The Friendship Club has helped empower and educate girls and young women since 1995, including about 100 during the current school year. The Friendship Club helps sixth- through 12th-grade girls and young women in Nevada County. Much has changed since Mary Collier founded the organization, but the goal of connecting girls with each other and with mentors, and putting them on a path to success remains the same almost three decades later.
“Friendship Club graduates have learned the importance of community and leadership, and how to succeed,” Singer said. “They also know their own value, and what they offer the world. We are so proud of these young women.”
The graduates shared their accomplishments and challenges, the road ahead and how The Friendship Club helped them. Their paths include attending the University of California, Davis and Cal Poly Humboldt, to earning an art degree at a trade school, traveling the world and becoming a chef.