Poverty, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, are causing us to lose many children in the Durham community to the streets. They are dropping out of school at a rate that is 27% higher than the state average. Seeking to have their physical and emotional needs met, these children turn to gangs and/or criminal activity. Children who have chronic problems with the law are typically sent to training schools. Here, they are further isolated from their family and community and have little or no opportunities to develop positive relationships.

Durham Companions provides this missing support with the help of mature, caring adults. Mentors serve as friends and role models for these youth while exposing them to more age-appropriate and constructive activities. Mentors help to get their youth back on the right track, before they get lost in the Juvenile Justice System.

The cost to support one child in a state-maintained training school is well over $100.00 per day. Compare this to less than $5.00 per day, per child, to help at-risk youth through Durham Companions. We can continue to choose the costly option (in more ways than one) of locking up our children, or we can help save them and our communities by supporting programs like Durham Companions.

The Solution

In conjunction with other support services, the Durham Companions mentoring programs works. This past year, after being matched with an adult role model, more than 95% of the young people in Durham Companions stayed out of trouble, and in school. Equally startling is the fact that less than 2% of children statewide who had a mentor were sent to training school last year — less than 2%.

Each year Durham Companions is able to serve more than 70 of Durham’s at-risk children. A majority of the youth we serve come from single-parent homes, where the lack of consistent attention has taken a costly toll. It has been proven that providing a child with the one-on-one support of a caring adult friend increases the child’s self-esteem, and encourages him or her to find constructive alternatives to delinquent activity. With your help, we can all make a difference in the life of a child and, therefore, in the Durham community.


We know Companions works! It has been proven time and again throughout the years. Click here to read what people who have experienced mentoring on from both sides have to say.