Friends of the Children – Portland is a nonprofit mentoring service that caters to at risk youth. Susan Fischer is passionately dedicated to the children served by Friends. She uses her artistic talents to reach out to the youth at Friends. During the last three years, Ms. Fisher has used the weekly sewing groups that she develops and runs to teach the children useful skills and to develop lasting, caring and committed relationships with those who attend.
Those involved in Ms. Fischer’s group have gained much from her dedicated efforts to connect with them. They have developed meaningful friendships with her and see her as someone they can look up to. This is important to the children in the program because many of them lack positive role models in their lives. In Ms. Fischer, the children see an example of a talented and successful woman who is dedicated to helping those in need. One of her eighth graders thinks of sunflowers on a sunny; day when she thinks of Ms. Fischer. This young lady believes all her love and compassion shines through to others.
Ms. Fischer’s connection with the children makes her acutely aware of the reality of their home lives, and she always keeps their special needs in mind. She teaches them skills to provide resources for themselves and their families, coordinating fun sewing projects that culminate in the development of something useful, whether it is school bags, clothing or other necessities. Ms. Fischer also recognizes each child’s incredible potential and keeps her expectations high. Knowing what she expects of them helps the children to set high standards for themselves and believe in their ability to live up to the.
Through the relationships that she forms in her groups, Ms. Fischer is able to offer the emotional support and nurturing that the children at Friends need and deserve but often do not receive at home. She makes each child feel special, important and nurtured through praising hard work and creativity. She is also a listener and readily available to help the children find their own solutions to problems. Ms. Fischer models healthy relationships by giving of herself generously while setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries with the children. In addition, many of the children that Ms. Fischer has mentored through Friends go on to be mentors for others to give back what was given to them.