Friends First, Inc.

By making a donation, you are investing in the next generation, our communities and our programming. Our programs help teens build confidence in their strengths, create a road map toward future goals and embrace the principles of MentorLife. Please consider a donation today.

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General Information

Official Name
Friends First Inc​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
Former Name(s)
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
7100 E Belleview Ave
Suite 303
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Colorado Location
Mailing Address
Other Address
Main Phone Number
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

At FRIENDS FIRST we educate and mentor teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships.

Organization History

FRIENDS FIRST was founded by Dr. Lisa Rue in 1993. Our original focus was on healthy relationships for teens, with an emphasis on dating and teen pregnancy prevention. As FRIENDS FIRST began to expand its reach, we realized that the need for (and value of) healthy relationships was not limited to dating.

FRIENDS FIRST began to focus on relationships between teens and their peers, parents, authority figures, and the community at large. Over time, we realized that one of the most critical relationships is the one between a TEEN and a MENTOR.

In 1996 FRIENDS FIRST developed its signature program: STARS (Students Teaching About Relationships and Success). STARS is a peer mentoring program that provides adult mentoring to high school students, who in turn mentor younger teens.

Today FRIENDS FIRST impacts nearly 5,000 students and adults every year through its STARS mentoring program, positive youth development classroom curriculum, school assemblies, community-based trainings, and youth leadership conferences. FRIENDS FIRST uses innovative programs, incorporates research-based best practices, partners with parents and schools, leverages community partnerships and employs an experienced, professional, and caring staff to support, encourage, educate and mentor teens. Through a positive youth development approach FRIENDS FIRST seeks to increase school engagement, graduation rates, positive relationships, leadership skills and opportunities for teens to be successful now and in the future.


"STARS has changed my life for the better. I never had a person to help me through freshman year and I wish I had. You create close relationships not only with your mentees but other mentors and program coordinators. The relationships I have built are people that I can count on and who can count on me. I believe these relationships will last a long time. I love STARS!"
- STARS mentor

"Being a part of the STARS program made me more confident; I always worried. When I first moved here I was worried what people would think of me, but I think the STARS program really helped me with that."
STARS focus group research by Corona Insights, 2017

"You learn to live the program from their perspective, helping others and bringing them up. Don't be the person that brings them down. STARS teaches how to be great leaders and how to help people."
STARS focus group research by Corona Insights, 2017

"STARS is important to me because of the bonds of friendship formed with the mentees. Being able to learn about their lives and what they're going through, positive or negative, and then being able to help them is a great feeling."
STARS focus group research by Corona Insights, 2017

"Without [STARS], I would not have been able to help those who need it and I would not get the opportunities offered to me in the same way."
- STARS mentor

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.