Friends For Change

"Friends For Change is a place kids can go to feel safe and talk to people we can trust. Any age person can come and talk and play games. Our space is relaxing and fun and kids are allowed to be themselves. Our staff are good because they let us make decisions. We need FFC because there is nothing to do and if we didn’t have it we wouldn’t have a place to talk about important things. Without it we have no voice."

—various Youth Voices

Friends For Change is a democratically run, youth-led/adult guided, trauma-informed, and play-based club in Bellows Falls, Vermont. It recently became a Youth Services program after years of close collaboration. Providing after school and summer programming, it is where youth thrive and learn how to build a stronger community.

Club members have ownership of decision making, design, day-to-day operation and the future direction of Friends For Change. They are involved in coordinating and leading community events and projects that result in positive change, such as playing a pivotal role in community conversations about drug misuse. Other activities include youth-led play, team building games, field trips, swimming, hiking, and biking.

Because the club has been designed for and by youth who have stories of resiliency, Friends for Change provides programming specifically for youth who have experienced trauma associated with poverty, discrimination, and or experiences with foster care and/or family instability. All youth however, are welcome and range in age from elementary through high school.

As a result of participation, youth report:

  • an increased sense of belonging
  • a chance to develop leadership
  • an increase in community involvement
  • less substance abuse
  • peer support and empathy
  • greater self confidence and self compassion

For more information, email