Student Involvement

YouthFriends Mentoring Program


About Us - Connecting caring adults with kids in schools

YouthFriends volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, yet they share one thing in common:
a commitment to help young people succeed.


YouthFriends is a nationally recognized and rapidly growing school-based mentoring network involving more than 70 school districts across the states of Missouri and Kansas.
YouthFriends Greater Kansas City currently comprises more than 30 school districts in the bi-state Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. It is the result of a six-school district pilot launched by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 1995. The field experience gained from the pilot led to the development of a complete operating system to assist future school district partners. Ongoing input from YouthFriends school district personnel, volunteers, parents and students continues to shape and refine the initiative.

Program Mission: YouthFriends connects students, teachers and schools with inspiring mentors and real-world learning experiences to promote success, encourage healthy behaviors and build stronger communities.

Program Vision: An engaged community helping young people to succeed.


Guiding Principles: The best youth development efforts strengthen community and encourage all to participate. Schools, as community focal points, are ideal locations to link young people with caring adults. At its core, YouthFriends is about engaging communities to help young people succeed by engaging adults in volunteerism with youth.


Mentors make great people possible

YouthFriends volunteers prove that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. By spending time with students in schools, YouthFriends mentors are making a world of difference in the lives of young people throughout Kansas and Missouri.

It's FUN!
YouthFriends is fun for both young people and adults. Volunteers can participate in a wide range of in-school activities, including sharing lunch with a student, reading to a student or class, sharing special talents or career interests, tutoring, or just being a good friend who listens.


It's Flexible
YouthFriends accommodates the busy schedules of today's volunteers.

  • Volunteer with a group of students or one-to-one
  • Choose the age groups you enjoy
  • Select a school location close to home or work
  • Volunteer for as little as one hour a week


It Make a Difference
Studies show the presence of a positive adult role model in a young person's life:

  • Builds confidence
  • Encourages kids to set and achieve goals
  • Helps young people succeed


Steps to Becoming a YouthFriend

1. Download and complete an application (submit to the Office of Student Involvement).


2. Consent to a background check.

3. Read and sign the Standard of Conduct.


Once approved, attend a free, two-hour training session.

Additional Info:
If you are interested in being a part of the YouthFriends Mentoring Program, we encourage you to contact the Office of Student Involvement at 816-235-1407 or


Additional Info:

If you are interested in being a part of the UMKC Institute for Leadership & Service, we encourage you to contact the Office of Student Involvement at 816-235-1407 or