Issue No. 3

September 2023


Quarterly Newsletter

we're so glad you're here!

Welcoming the New Season

As the air turns crisper and leaves begin to change, we celebrate the transformation and growth that comes with the season. In this fall newsletter, we are excited to share some of our recent accomplishments and upcoming announcements. Thank you for your continued support, which makes our work possible.     


All the best,

Kelsey Lewis, Executive Director

Youth Spotlight

A youth at the top of a slide at an indoor playground.
"Miss Aliyah and I went to Kids Empire, and she really exemplified the values of "Belonging" and "Commit to Empowerment" for not only herself, but also for me. I was absolutely terrified of the slide (it's seriously steeper than what it looks) and Aliyah told me, 'Sarah, we can do this slide together because we are not alone and have each other. So just be brave with me and if it's too scary, you can close your eyes.' She seriously became my mentor in that moment and when we slid down, she died laughing and said she didn't think I would actually close my eyes. I love how strong our relationship is and how we can support each other and still be goofy!"

I love how strong our relationship is and how we can support each other and still be goofy!


Back to School: Celebrating the New School Year


92% of our program graduates go on to enroll in

post-secondary education, serve our country,

or become employed in a living wage job.


Special Visitors

Congressman Burgess Owens with a Friend and Youth.

Congressman Burgess Owens

We were honored to have Congressmen Burgess Owens visit our clubhouse and witness the incredible impact of mentorship and our evidence-based approach to intentionally support youth and families for the long term.

During his visit, Congressman Owens took part in a soccer clinic with some of our youth and their mentors. He engaged in meaningful conversations with the Friends (mentors) about their motivations for choosing this vital work. It's inspiring to see leaders like Congressman Owens recognize the importance of investing early and creating pathways for youth to achieve lifelong success.

First Lady Abby Cox

This month, we were honored to host First Lady Abby Cox at our clubhouse! Our First Lady has made it her mission to Show Up for each other with open hearts and willing minds through her incredible @showuputah initiative.

In addition to encouraging service, supporting our educators, and inclusive unified sports, First Lady Cox and Show Up Utah‍ are leading a campaign to strengthen foster care outcomes. She is bringing awareness to the need for families to support youth impacted by foster care and providing essential resources to our state’s dedicated foster families. We talked about our shared vision and how Friends of the Children’s long-term professional mentoring model can prevent entry into foster care, shorten lengths of stay, and reduce foster care re-entry.

Staff Spotlight

Spotlight on: Friends


Hi! My name is Marcus Chen and I am excited to be a Professional Mentor at Friends of the Children. My experience working with youth spans a variety of contexts, ranging from mentoring youth in audio production and serving as a middle school science teacher in a public education setting. I hope that my work with Friends of the Children would help the youth access the experiences and resources that would help them be successful in the present and future. Outside of work I enjoy finding the perfect fishing spot, taking on any hands-on DIY project, and hanging out with my dog, Forest.


I am so excited to be a part of the team at Friends of the Children - Utah! Over the past 6 years, I have worked with youth of various ages as well as their families, and I realized through this work that I thoroughly enjoy being a support and role model for these individuals on their journey towards their goals and dreams. When I am not working, I am usually playing games with my partner and friends, reading a fantasy novel, or listening to/watching a true-crime documentary.

Spotlight on: Our New Program Director

Kami (Program Director).

We are thrilled to introduce our new Program Director, Kami Neves! An experienced clinical health professional and program director, Kami is uniquely prepared to develop high quality youth programming alongside meaningful caregiver-focused supports.


Kami Neves is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and has worked for over 15 years providing therapeutic services for vulnerable families who have experienced complex trauma and live in chronic stress. Over the last 6 years in non-profit leadership roles, Kami has helped organizations develop trauma informed policies and programs that help families heal and thrive along with increasing staff’s resiliency with secondary traumatic stress. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and young daughter and loves spending time reading, learning, and watching her daughter experience the world. 

Donor Appreciation

Friends of the Children - Utah Executive Director Kelsey Lewis with trustees of the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation.

Friends of the Children - Utah recently met with trustees from the Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation to thank them for their generosity and share stories of hope from our youth and families.

Thank you donors for your impact!


Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation









Yardi Systems


Support Our Work

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is Tuesday, November 28 this year - mark your calendars!


Friends of the Children - Utah is looking for challenge gift donors for Giving Tuesday this year. If you'd like to be a challenge donor, please contact Keili Bell.

Giving Tuesday logo

Give Every Month (GEM)

By becoming a GEM and giving every month, you're joining our mission to stand by our youth for 12+ years -- from kindergarten through high school graduation -- no matter what. A gift of any size makes it possible for our Friends to be with their youth week after week, month after month, year after year. 


Become a GEM today and commit to generational change! 

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Friends of the Children - Utah

5361 S 4220 W
Suite B
Kearns, UT 84118