02/22/2011 03:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Friends Of The Children Gives Mentors Salary To Help Students Graduate, Reports Success

Over 18 years ago, Duncan Campbell founded Friends of the Children to help at-risk youth get access to mentoring.

Instead of volunteering, however, his program's mentors are paid for their time.

NPR reports that the organization's method of making mentorships into full-time jobs is paying off. Friends of the Children states that 85 percent of their mentored kids graduate from high school. Compared to the nationwide statistic of 75 percent, they consider it a success.

Judith Stavisky, executive director of the organization, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that the high investment is invaluable.

"It is a hard decision to make to invest in something that is so expensive on the front end but certainly bears substantial fruit on the back end."

Anthony Blackmon can attest to this first hand. He started at Friends of the Children when he was 8 years old and full of anger issues. He told NPR:

"There were some things going on at home, plus, you know, I had problems at school. So when I came to Friends, it was like my getaway."

Now 18, he is heading off to college to become a music producer. He says he wants to help others through his career.

Over the years, Friends of the Children has expanded to six cities across the nation, from Portland to New York.