Quarterly Newsletter


OUR MISSION: Impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what.

Dear Friend,

This mission is what drew me to Friends of the Children, Utah. It is bold, innovative and it inspires me. Three months into my role as executive director, I am delighted and humbled to be part of this incredible team. 

Our mission is more than words—it is the relentless commitment we make to our youth and their families. And we fulfill our mission by living and practicing our values.

Friends - Utah launched at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Despite these challenges, we “pursued goals relentlessly,” hiring staff and identifying youth who would most benefit from a Friend. In three short years, we have tripled the number of Friends providing professional mentoring to youth. Today, 60 inspiring youth are paired with a Friend, dedicated to nurturing a long-term relationship from a foundation of love, acceptance, trust and empathy. This Spring we are on track to hire 3 new Friends and enroll 24 more youth.


I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to all that is possible as we walk alongside the resilient youth and families we serve.  Thank you for your partnership in our mission to empower youth and create generational change. 

Kelsey Lewis
Friends of the Children

Executive Director


Friends of the Children is always excited to talk about our long-term, professional mentorship program for youth. We recently had the opportunity to share stories of incredible youth and the impact of Friends of the Children's model with elected officials in Utah and in Washington DC!


During the 2023 Utah Legislative Session, Friends of the Children educated policy makers about the life changing impact of our professional mentoring approach. We are grateful to Senator Luz Escamilla for championing our request for funding to serve the growing number of youth and families who deserve a Friend in their lives. While the majority of our funding comes from private donations, investments of public funding enable us to enroll additional youth and further leverage investment from the community.

In January, leaders from Friend of the Children's network of 29 sites across the country met in our nation's capitol. Our executive director, Kelsey, was there for this historic gathering which marks the 30th anniversary of Friends of the Children's innovative model. The  leaders shared stories of incredible youth and our vision for impacting generational change through professional mentoring. Legislative staff from Senator Mike Lee and Representative Burgess Owen's offices met with Kelsey and members of our national team. 

Our visionary founder, Duncan Campbell, was in D.C. for the event and Kelsey had the privilege of meeting him. If you haven't heard Duncan's story, he is a remarkable human who overcame significant challenges in his youth and went on to found Friends of the Children. Thanks to Duncan's vision, thousands of youth now have the opportunity to become self-reliant, contributing citizens...all through the power of relationships.


FIND YOUR SPARK! On January 28th, the Alta High School Hockey Team volunteered to help our youth learn to ice skate at the Acord Arena in West Valley City! Youth were paired with a player to take their first steps on the ice. By the end of the lesson, more than half of our youth (all under 7) were skating independently! Following ice time, the team held a Q&A and talked about what drew them to the sport of hockey. Each child received a "shinny" stick and soft foam puck to take a shot on net during a rousing game of floor hockey.

Our youth and their parents were thrilled with the experience. The youth fell in love with skating and the connection between the players and their youth was pretty special.  Thank you to  the Alta Hawks Hockey team for inspiring us to find our spark on the ice for our Spark Explorer activity this January.


January was National Mentoring Month, and we celebrated the power of the significant relationships developed through our courageous and innovative model. Our Friends are not only professionals, they also love and care deeply about the youth they serve. Our Friends will tell you, they may be the mentor, but they learn so much from the youth that they serve. What a gift it is to empower youth and families in our community to dream big and reach their goals!

Our Friend, Zach made this video to explain WHY he chooses to be a mentor and Friend to our children.


Welcome and Congratulations to our Staff!

  • Our new Development Director, Keili Bell, has worked in philanthropy with multiple entities including directing corporate social impact events for brands like Patagonia and Outdoor Retailer. Keili holds a Professional Certificate in Fundraising and Development from UC Davis with a focus in major gifts and annual fundraising; Keili also brings training in family legacy planning and giving strategies. Keili loves spending time with family and friends, skiing, traveling by bicycle, and learning languages like Arabic and Spanish.


  • John "Jack" Schwiebert has been working with Friends of the Children for multiple years as a Lead Friend and is now accepting the role as Program Manager. Congratulations, Jack! We are lucky to have you on the team.


  • Megan Felsch. MSW intern at the U of U and will help us facilitate Mindfulness Mondays, revamp the resource directory, assist with Youth Selection, and helping with Partners in Parenting

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Friends of the Children model. At the same time, Friends - Utah is celebrating 3 years of laughter, perseverance, ice cream cones, hope, hugs, dreams, grit and above all else, unconditional

Thank you for your support to bring Friends of the Children to Utah!

Friends of the Children Utah

5361 S 4220 W Suite B

Kearns, Utah 84118


https://friendsutah.org | info@friendsutah.org