FNL Youth Mentoring
FNL Mentoring provides opportunities for young people to be in ongoing, mutually beneficial, caring relationships, which strengthen a young person’s resiliency to challenges in life. The FNL model engages teams of older high school-aged youth to mentor teams of middle school-aged youth in a structured ongoing one-on-one relationship. Counties that participate in Mentoring adhere to certain quality assurance standards while maintaining local creativity, energy and self-determination.
FNL Mentoring Programs
Introduce young people to the concept of volunteerism
Encourage young people to develop programs that are fun and meaningful
Promote messages through shared experiences
Encourage peer-oriented programming (youth-driven and youth-led)
Develops skills, such as communication, teamwork, and active listening
Encourage and empower young people as active leaders and community resources
Have broad appeal to diverse ethnic, racial and social groups
Encourage youth to engage in mutually beneficial relationships with peers and younger youth
Positive youth development opportunities are on the rise in Tuolumne County thanks to a $240,000 FNL grant awarded to expand programs at more local schools. The funds will also provide some funding support for broader campus activities.
Friday Night Live (FNL) programs continue encouraging young people to take the lead on tobacco and drug and alcohol prevention education outreach. They also focus on having them address mental health and wellness initiatives and plan campus activities and community service opportunities for their schools and peers.
Through these areas of focus FNL students work together in groups and learn leadership, communication, team-building and problem-solving skills as they plan and execute activities and projects.
There are four different programs provided by the Tuolumne County FNL Partnership (TCFNLP). FNL is for high-school-age youth, Club Live (CL) is for middle schoolers, and Friday Night Live Kids (FNLK) is for the upper-elementary grades. With guidance from advisors, Tuolumne County FNL groups on school campuses can function like clubs or can be co-planned and run with teacher-advisors as electives. TCFNLP also offers FNL Mentoring, which pairs high school and middle school students.
FNL's Origins Behind the Name
In 1984, FNL programs (which are run in 50 of California’s 58 counties) started out to literally provide safe environments for young people on Friday nights because data indicated that Friday evenings were when the highest number of youth-related traffic fatalities occurred across the state.
Over the years it shifted to a youth development model focused primarily on alcohol and drug prevention strategies and added additional programs to include elementary and middle school students as findings indicated they also needed support. While the original “Friday Night Live” moniker proudly carries the programs’ legacy and continued success it has become a bit of a misnomer since most of the programs happen during or after school.
FNL provides opportunities for students to make meaningful contributions to their schools and communities because the students within each chapter are empowered to work together on the initiatives that they decide are most important to their peers and best serve their schools and communities.
The Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA) administers FNL programs on behalf of the Tuolumne County FNL Partnership (TCFNLP) with support from many county agencies, including the Superintendent of Schools Office (TCSOS), Behavioral Health (TCBH), Public Health (TCPH) and the YES Partnership.
Past Projects, Activities, Current Opportunities
Ahead of the Covid pandemic, FNL students from Summerville High worked with local law enforcement to trace under-age alcohol sales back to the source. They have since developed outreach activities to educate their peers and community about the addictive and elevated dangers of vaping products and how the tobacco industry targets and entices minors into trying and using its products.
In the 2022-23 school year, students at Summerville, alarmed over the exponential increase in youth and adult opioid overdoses and fentanyl poisonings, created outreach tools to educate peers about how to recognize overdose symptoms and how to take life-saving measures. The same school year, students at Gold Rush Charter High School planned student activities designed to help students connect with each other such as a ukulele music circle geared for absolute beginners to those with musical experience. Students at Sonora High began working on a campus scavenger hunt they plan to finish and host for their peers in the fall.
The only criteria for students to join FNL is to want to engage and become involved in a group where the members have fun while building character, learning, and growing various skills that will help them make a positive difference on campus and in the community. As the programs are designed to help develop the inner leader and key contributor in everybody, FNL tends to especially appeal to those who in the beginning might not have seen themselves taking on those roles.
Any school that is interested in starting an FNL program is encouraged to contact ATCAA, the TCFNLP administrator. If there’s already a program at your school that has similar objectives, it can partner with TCFNLP and receive the benefits and support that come with that partnership. For more information and answers to queries email ATCAA Youth Development Coordinator Tori Bors at email@example.com and/or ATCAA Prevention Programs and YES Partnership Director Bob White firstname.lastname@example.org.