Program Director - Friends of the Children - Los Angeles

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Friends of the Children—Los Angeles (Friends L.A.) is looking for a passionate, committed Program Director to take the lead in coordinating, implementing, and sustaining programming in Metro/South Los Angeles. Our model is proven to break the cycle of generational poverty for children who face the most barriers by providing paid professional mentors to thousands of youth across the country. The Program Director will be relentlessly driven to establish and expand our innovative, evidence-based model in our local L.A. communities. He or she will be a fierce advocate for children coming into contact with the foster care system and will be effective at communicating the urgency of our mission and success of our outcomes.

The Program Director will work with community leaders, the foster care system, and parents impacted by foster care to disrupt the cyclical nature of foster care. He or she will lead and inspire mentors, implement the child selection process, and cultivate and maintain relationships with schools, families, and community-based resources.

The ideal candidate will have a smart head for business, and be an innovative leader deeply connected to the communities we serve. He or she will be proactive, results- driven, and possess a sense of urgency while at the same time look to focus their entrepreneurial talents to make a real difference for children facing the highest risks. The Program Director will work closely with the Executive Director and will help guide the organization through our planned implementation and expansion. The right leader will be fiercely committed to equity and will ensure that every aspect of the organization’s mission is executed with full engagement of communities impacted by our work.

Are you this amazing leader? Here’s what we have to offer you:

  • A committed Executive Director who will partner with you to establish and grow the organization. 
  • The ability to implement and supervise a proven evidence-based mentoring model. 
  • A strong, cohesive National team committed to innovation and high standards. 
  • A team of talented employees who are passionate about working together to create an extraordinary organization. 
  • Respect for work-life balance. You’ll work hard, and we expect you to recharge your batteries.
  • A comprehensive benefit package.
  • Most of all, you get to lead an exceptional organization that helps children facing incredible odds change their life story every day. At Friends L.A. you get to think globally and act locally.

As Program Director, you’ll also receive expert support from our National team, which is located in Portland, OR. You’ll also work with a talented team of leaders from the other sites, who collaborate to support our award-winning National scaling plan.

Basic Function/Position Objective:

The Program Director must exhibit perseverance and an entrepreneurial spirit in their pursuit of establishing and growing the Friends L.A. program in the city of Los Angeles. The Program Director is responsible for the management, designing, coordinating, implementing, and sustaining programming, as well as program research, proposal and report generation, and presentations, as required. The Program Director is also responsible for supervising, guiding, developing, and evaluating the efforts of all professional mentors (“Friends”), and for sustaining the overall integrity of the program. The Program Director is responsible for the overall cultivation and maintenance of relationships with schools, families, and key community members.

The Program Director is a member of the senior management team and is expected to keep other members of senior management informed about the status of the program. The Program Director is expected to interact constructively and proactively with members of the community, with partner schools, and, when asked by the Executive Director, with potential donors and other third parties.

Essential Functions/Core Job Accountabilities:

  • Actively participate as a member of the senior management team in leading the organization, participating in strategic planning and budgeting, and making, implementing, and upholding decisions or policies related to the operations of the organization. Effectively lead organizational change. 
  • Hire, supervise, inspire, develop, and evaluate efforts of the programmatic team. Serve as role model and mentor, ensuring that all members of the program have resources necessary to perform their jobs, act as team facilitator and organizational motivator, and facilitate effective communication in all directions. 
  • Manage for performance. Hold all member of the programmatic team accountable for work performance, adequacy of time spent with children, quality and diversity of activities with children, and administrative/reporting responsibilities. 
  • Work with National program staff to design and implement initial Friends training, as well as ongoing training and other required performance improvement activities. 
  • Know and understand the needs and issues of the families served. Meet with the programmatic team monthly, and review Roadmaps and Transition Plans for each child on a monthly basis. Assure that each Friend has helped develop a specific area of interest or talent for each child. 
  • Lead and facilitate effective, weekly staff meetings ensuring focus on child and Friend successes, setbacks, issues, concerns, and ideas. Ensure focus on the communication of organizational information or issues to team and solicit feedback from team. 
  • Communicate effectively and appropriately in all directions regarding organizational issues, concerns, policies, and procedures. Raise and resolve issues appropriately. 
  • Ensure feedback from a minimum of two parents of children per month. Document and maintain all feedback and include in Quarterly Reports. 
  • Participate in regular conference calls with Program Directors in the network, and otherwise communicate with personnel at the National office and other chapters about the program. 
  • Manage the child identification and selection process; including developing and sustaining a robust, formalized process, and training and supervising process participants. 
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with partner schools to allow for effective program implementation and sustainability. Design and implement a process to ensure all team members are trained/developed to work in this capacity as well, to further strengthen our efforts to cultivate and maintain these critical relationships. 
  • Utilize program data to help develop, implement, and sustain enrichment activities and program excellence. Ensure the quality of program delivery at all levels. 
  • Be relentlessly committed to ensuring that youth reach their long-term outcomes. 
  • Communicate regularly and effectively with Executive Director about key aspects of the program, including status of children, performance of program team members, recommendations for improvement of the program, and potential issues with particular staff members or children. 
  • Oversee the recruiting, selection, and hiring of new Friends and staff as required. Assist with trainings. 
  • Develop trusting, supportive relationships with families, and caregivers of the children we serve.
  • Responsible for the quality, integrity, and timely entry of program data. 
  • Ensure compliance with and accountability to organization’s policies, procedures, and practices as outlined in the Employee Manual and Friends Handbook. Contribute to the development of any of these as required. Help move the organization to one of increased accountability and zero tolerance. 

  • Serve as effective, compelling spokesperson for the organization. 
  • Collaborate with and benefit from National team resources. 

Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities: 

  • Strong interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills; organizational and time management, delegation and follow-up skills. 
  • Ability to cultivate and sustain relationships and work effectively with a wide variety of constituencies, including staff, program children, parents, schools, organizational supporters, Board members, and community partners. 
  • Ability to represent, effectively and professionally, the organization to a wide variety of audiences. 
  • Ability to research, analyze data, design/develop, propose, implement, and sustain programming. 
  • Ability to solve problems, work in a team environment, manage several issues concurrently, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced constantly changing work environment. 
  • Strong project management skills. Proven ability to manage multiple deadlines, responsibilities, and competing priorities. 
  • Ability to work in diverse work environments. 
  • Knowledge of child development and child issues, particularly those most relevant to our program youth. 
  • Awareness of community resources, and the ability to cultivate and sustain relationships with these resources.
  • Ability to cultivate relationships with children, families, school personnel, organizational supporters, and community partners.
  • Enthusiasm for helping to plan and manage the anticipated growth of Friends L.A. and commitment to developing personal skills and knowledge as appropriate to that growth.

Education and Experience Required: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in social work or related field; Master’s degree and bi-lingual in Spanish a plus.
  • Seven to ten years’ experience working with child-related programs in progressively responsible roles.
  • Three to five years in leadership or management role with significant supervisory duties and responsibilities. Friends L.A. is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to addressing discriminatory practices, and to working toward racial equity.

The equal employment opportunity policy of Friends of the Children provides fair and equal opportunities for all employees and job applicants regardless of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, or genetic information, in compliance with applicable federal, state and local law. Friends of the Children hires and promotes individuals solely on the basis of their qualifications for the job to be filled. 

To learn more about Friends of the Children go to:

Location: Los Angeles, CA
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