"I always present the Best Friends program as one of the answers to the problems we have in our society...
it is a winner,
and I know that many more communities will be embracing it."

Former
Secretary of State Colin Powell

Best Friends is a school based character education program for girls that begins in the sixth grade and continues until high school graduation. Best Friends provides a developmentally sound curriculum in an educational setting which promotes fun, companionship, and caring. When Best Friends girls reach ninth grade, they enter the Diamond Girl Leadership program which is designed to keep girls interested, involved, and committed to their character education through high school and until marriage. All Diamond Girls participate in the Diamond Girl Jazz Choir or Performance Dance Troupe which fosters discipline as well as the social and presentation skills important for future success. Our goal is for all Diamond Girls to graduate from high school with specific college, vocational, or career plans.

Curriculum
Best Friends provides a character-building curriculum, an intensive peer support structure, and long-term adult involvement. Each year, Best Friends girls receive at least 110 hours of instruction, mentoring, and group activities.

The Best Friends Curriculum includes:

Group Discussion
Girls discuss and receive guidance on the topics of friendship, love and dating, self-respect, decision-making, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, physical fitness and nutrition, AIDS and STDs. Group discussion sessions are conducted during the school day at least once a month.

Role Model Presentation
At least twice a year distinguished women from the community meet with the girls to discuss their own lives and families and the important decisions they made when they were young.

Mentor Meetings
Each Best Friends girl has a mentor, a member of her school faculty, who meets with her for 30 to 45 minutes each week. Girls select their own mentors from a list of teachers who have agreed to participate.

Fitness and Nutrition Classes
Best Friends girls participate in a weekly fitness/dance class.

Community Service
Girls are required to participate in at least one community service project each year such as Race for the Cure, clothing drives to benefit the homeless, adopting a community day care center, and reading to children.

"Make Music Not Madness"
This is our new all-school outreach effort designed to deliver the messages of rejecting drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex to the entire student body. Our goal is to utilize Best Friends and Best Men as role models for their fellow students, helping them say "no" to risk behavior and "yes" to positive music and positive choices.

Cultural Enrichment Activities
We provide opportunities for the girls to attend uplifting cultural events, including theater and dance performances, concerts, and exhibits.

Annual Family and School Recognition Ceremony
At the end of the school year, the Best Friends girls, Diamond Girls, mentors, and parents are honored. The ceremony is held to showcase the Best Friends girls and Diamond Girls and their commitment to the Best Friends messages through music, dance, and public speaking. Girls are recognized by their family, school, community, and national leaders. College scholarships, awards, and prizes for outstanding essays are presented.

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Send questions or comments to webmaster@bestfriendsfoundation.org

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