January 24th
Washington D.C. – Best Friends Foundation 30th Anniversary Reception and Expert Panel Discussion “Our Children, Our Country”.

April 20th
Washington, D.C. – Best Friends Foundation held the Stop the Silence, Prevent the Violence: Anti-bullying seminar for middle school students at the 4-H Center

March 3rd
Washington, D.C. – Mayors Office On Women’s Policy And Initiatives (MOWPI) awarded Elayne Bennett the Washington Woman of Excellence Award

March 10th
Washington, D.C. – Best Friends Foundation held the Stop the Silence, Prevent the Violence: Anti-bullying seminar for elementary school students at the 4-H Center

February 14-17
Myrtle Beach, SC – Elayne Bennett participated in training sessions, Board of Directors Meeting, and podcast interview at the National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

January 28th
Washington, D.C. – Best Friends Foundation held the Stop the Silence, Prevent the Violence: Anti-bullying seminar for high school students at McKinley Tech Highschool

May 11-12
New Orleans, LA – Elayne attended USA Funds conference on preparing students for the work force.

April 30th
Washington, D.C. – Elayne Bennett attended the Salem Broadcasting reception at US Capitol regarding media and cultural issues

April 22nd
Best Friends Foundation held the Stop the Silence, Prevent the Violence: Anti-bullying seminar for elementary and middle school students at the 4-H Center.

October 25-27
San Antonio TX – Elayne Bennett attended training sessions on innovative practices in education.

November 2-4
Louisville, KY – Elayne Bennett attended the National Dropout Prevention Board of Directors Meeting and school administrators and teacher training conference.

June 11, 2014
Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Seminar, National 4H Center

June 3, 2014
Elayne Bennett attended the National Dropout Prevention Board meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Asheville, NC – Elayne Bennett spoke about adolescent current trends in youth behavior today.

April 28 – 30, 2014
Milken Institute Global Conference, Los Angeles

Orlando, FL – Elayne Bennett was interviewed on Carl Jackson Radio about Daughters in Danger: Helping Our Girls Thrive in Today’s Culture.

March 5, 2014
World Over: Raymond Arroyo interviews Elayne Bennett on her book Daughters in Danger.

Washington, D.C. – Elayne Bennet was a guest on The O’Reilly Factor, and was interviewed on her book Daughters in Danger: Helping Our Girls Thrive in Today’s Culture.

November, 2011
Greater Washington: Give to the Max Day was November 9th, 2011.
Please Donate Next Year.

June 17th, 2011
Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Recognition Program

Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Recognition Program The Diamond Girl and Best Men Leadership Recognition Program was held on Friday, June 17th, 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue. A luncheon was served in the Danforth Courtyard and the Recognition Program followed in Aiton Auditorium. The Recognition Program recognized the 2011 Scholarship recipients, the Best Friends Foundation College Council and the achievements of Diamond Girl Leadership, Best Men Leadership, Potomac Job Corps and the support and dedication of their school principals, coordinators and parents. Open a .pdf of pages from the event program booklet for details about the event.

June 17th-18th, 2011
Youth Leadership Summit

The Youth Leadership Summit was held on Friday and Saturday, June 17th and 18th , 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue. Sessions for student leaders included: video and discussions about Dating Violence, Healthy Relationships/Healthy Marriage – Conflict Resolution and Communication Skills, College and Career Planning, Networking and Financial Planning.

February 26th, 2011
Dating Violence Prevention Seminar: “Stop the Silence. Prevent the Violence”

In response to the current epidemic of teen violence and abuse the Best Friends Foundation conducted a Dating Violence Prevention Seminar: “Stop the Silence. Prevent the Violence” on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center on 7100 Connecticut Avenue.

The Best Friends Foundation is a recipient of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy Marriage / Healthy Relationships grant for high school youth. An important component of the grant is the focus on teen violence and abuse in intimate relationships. We would like expand our program to offer our HHS approved curriculum and Violence and Abuse Prevention Protocol to more students and teachers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The Seminar agenda included an 11:00 a.m. performance of the “Yellow Dress” by Deana’s Educational Theater and a presentation by Best Friends Foundation Leadership students entitled “Make Music Not Madness” which promoted positive peer relationships through music and dance. The performances were followed by a question and answer period with Dr. Robert DuPont a graduate of the Harvard Medical School and a nationally recognized expert on substance abuse. Dr. DuPont is the founding president of the Institute for Behavior and Health. Lunch was provided and a workshop on Conflict Resolution and Communication Skills followed in the afternoon.

If you have any questions regarding the seminar, please contact either Pauline Hamlette at 202.478.9683 or by email at or Elayne Bennett at for more information.

September 10th-12th, 2010
The National Youth Leadership Summit

This event was held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in DC and was sponsored by the HHS Healthy Relationships/Healthy Marriage grant. An expert guest speaker panel included Dr. Curtis Adams, author and psychiatrist; Judge Reggie Walton, U.S. District Judge, District of Columbia; Judge Anita Josey-Herring, Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; Seth Leibsohn, Producer/Director of Research “Morning in America” radio talk show and Claremont Institute Fellow; Seth’s wife Elaine Leibsohn, an expert in community relations/strategic partnerships and a featured speaker at numerous national conferences; and Kyle Mims a former Best Men member and graduate of Temple University in 2010. There was also a dance for leadership students on Saturday night. Some topics addressed at the summit included: Benefits of Healthy Relationships and Marriage, Drugs and Alcohol, Dating Violence, and AIDs and STDs.

May 13th, 2010
The 2010 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event

Held Thursday evening May 13th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. You can go to the event web page to view details of this year’s event. Please plan to attend next year.

January 7th, 2010
Holiday Party for Diamond Girl Leadership

Best Men Leadership was held at Catholic University in Caldwell Hall from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Thursday January 7th, 2010.

September 11-13, 2009
2009 Best Friends Foundation National Youth Leadership Summit

Held September 11th – 13th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. See a .pdf of the newsletter for this event, “The Leader.”

June 5th, 2009
2009 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event “Make Music Not Madness”

Held Friday evening June 5th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. Attendees, donors and distinguished guests enjoyed a heartwarming evening of great music, dining and dancing to benefit our DC students. Best Friends celebrates 22 years of programs that “Make Music Not Madness.”

The Best Friends Foundation expresses our heartfelt appreciation to all who attended and donated to benefit our services to youth. We especially wish to thank these donors:

Benefactor Council Susan and Lawrence Kadish
Patron Council Elayne and Bill Bennett, GEICO, Jim Kimsey-Kimsey Foundation, Marlene and Fred Malek, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Bill O’Reilly, Transcend Marketing & Events
Friends Council L & S Milken Foundation, Rosenthal Automotive

February 22, 2009 Best Friends Health is Happiness Day
9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

“Stop the Madness” Panel Luncheon and “Make Music Not Madness” Assembly 12:00p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

For additional Health is Happiness Day Information contact: Rita Kelly Burns at 202.478.9677

February 20-22, 2009
Best Friends Foundation National Training Conference

F Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, DC 20015

For additonal Training Conference and Luncheon information contact: Ann Goldsmith at 202.478.9677 .

December 13, 2008
Holiday Party

The Holiday Party for Best Friends and Best Men mentors and the College Council students was held on Saturday, December 13th at Catholic University. Christmas came early for the Metropolitan Leadership Choir, Best Men Leadership Step Team, and Diamond Girl Leadership Dance Troupe as they performed at the Angel for a Day celebration on the campus of Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Approximately 500 children from area schools enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon of carols, games, and activities. A highlight was a Secret Santa room where approximately 1000 toys were distributed.

Sponsored by the DC Young Men’s Leadership Team, the fifth annual holiday event brought smiles to the faces of all who attended. Special guest Bishop Martin D. Holley of the Archdiocese of Washington DC commended the young people for their hard work and spirit of service and expressed his gratitude to those who “gave so generously of their time and effort to provide such joy and hope to the young children.”

September 5-7, 2008
2008 Best Friends Foundation National Youth Leadership Summit Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

On Saturday, a luncheon and panel discussion with distinguished guests was led by Elayne Bennett and Carol Platt Liebau, author of Prude: How The Sex Obsessed Culture Damages Girls.

This is the 3rd year of our Stop the Madness panel on the importance of healthy relationships and prevention of alcohol and drug use, sex, and violence among adolescents. The panel included community leaders from the Metro D.C. area who share a concern for today’s youth. The panel discussion was followed by a production of Make Music Not Madness, which aims to promote among our youth “music” activities which enrich, inspire and uplift instead of “madness” activities which degrade, depress and lead to danger.

May 9, 2008
The 2008 Foundation Annual Fundraising Event

Held Friday evening May 9th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Entertainers were Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (original members of the 5th Dimension), The Drifters and Chuck Brown. Donors and guests enjoyed dinner, dancing and fun at what has been called “Washington’s best party.” The Foundation is very grateful to all donors and guests for their generosity and attendance. See a .pdf file with pictures/info from the event.

July 22-25, 2007
Youth Leadership Summit

Washington, DC – Youth and adult men tors from Washington, DC and across the nation participated in the Best Friends Foundation’s third annual National Youth Leadership Summit – Today’s Leaders, Tomorrow’s Future at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, July 22-25, 2007. Over 150 youth leaders attended this national leadership summit to hear from presenters and engage in discussions that address the current state of youth. Each youth leader gained a greater knowledge on how to avoid violence, drugs, alcohol and premarital sex, as well as listened to presentations on college/career prep and financial planning.

Summit Highlights:
John Walters, Director of The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, spoke to youth leaders from around the country during a keynote luncheon address: “The Current State of Adolescent Drug Use.”

Stop The Madness,” panel discussion. Experts discussed issues and solutions regarding adolescent risk behavior. Panelists included The Honorable Robert Flores, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Dr. David Murray, Chief Scientist for Counter-Drug Technology Assessment Center, Office of National Drug Control Policy; Jose Dominguez, Director of Grants Administration, DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation; Tyrone C. Parker, Co-founder and Executive Director of Alliance for Concerned Men; Beverly Watts Davis, Senior Advisor on Substance Abuse Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); and Seth Leibsohn, Producer of William Bennett’s “Morning In America” radio show. Best Friends Foundation Founder and President, Elayne Bennett, served as moderator.

Best Friends Foundation’s student musical production, “Make Music Not Madness,” with special guest appearance by acclaimed singer and actress Melba Moore, most recognized for making history as Luttiebelle in the Broadway production “Purlie,”” and becoming the first black actress to win a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress.

May 11, 2007
DC Recognition Ceremony 20th Anniversary

Washington, DC – Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. This ceremony recognized the achievements of the DC Best Friends, Diamond Girls Leadership, Best Men and Best Men Leadership and the dedication of their school principals, coordinators, parents and teacher mentors. Guest speakers were Will A. Gunn, President and CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and George Sanker, Principal Hope Community Charter School. The audience was treated to special performances from Make Music Not Madness.

April 27, 2007
“Rockin’ at The Ritz” Annual Fundraising Event

Foundation Annual Fundraising Event ”Rockin’ at The Ritz” was held on Friday evening April 27th, 2007 at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC. Performers this year were Fabian, Jerry Butler, Barbara Lewis and Bobby Vee & The Vees.

August 9-12, 2006
Youth Leadership Summit

Best Friends Foundation National Youth Leadership Summit -Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC.

June 9, 2006
Milwaukee Recognition Ceremony

Read about this year’s Recognition Ceremonies held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, Milwaukee Airport. This Best Friends Recognition ceremony included essay winners reading their submissions to the parents and teachers present. All parents, coordinators and Best Friends School principles were also recognized.

The Diamond Girl Recognition Ceremony included a solo performance by Diana and a poem reading by Shanice. Clarice gave a welcome address to upcoming 9th graders and Trisha and Clarice spoke about, “Why stay in Diamond Girls.” Diamond Girl essays were also read. Myquisha led the Goodbye to Seniors. The event also included a student dance and a performance by the Jazz Choir.

Pat Kirby, Best Friends Program Coordinator

June 6, 2006
Newark Diamond Girl Recognition Ceremony
Newark, New Jersey – New Jersey Institute of Technology

The Diamond Girls of Newark, New Jersey came together to perform songs, poems, and step routines for friends and family at their School and Family Recognition Ceremony. The Mistress of Ceremonies, for the evening, was Miss Danielle Brown, former Best Friend and Diamond Girl. Diamond Girls and their family enjoyed a buffet dinner and listened to Newark Councilwoman at large Ms. Bessie Walker speak about sisterhood. The entertainment included a slideshow of this year’s Diamond Girl events, a poem written and read by Amma and recognition of all Diamond Girls and rising ninth graders. Scholarship award winners were recognized and the Creative Movement Dance Troupe did a Step and Dance routine. University High School girls put on a drama presentation.

Q.     Yolanda Simmons, Diamond Girls Leadership Program Coordinator

May 23, 2006
DC Recognition Ceremony
Washington, DC – DAR Constitution Hall

DC’s ceremony featured Kathy Sledge, lead singer of Sister Sledge, Angela McGlowan, Fox News political analyst, Todd Pride, Founder of Sullivan Community Capital LLC and George Sanker, Principal of Hope Community Charter School.

The ceremony had special performances from: Make Music Not Madness, Diamond Girl Choir, Diamond Girl Performance Dance Troupe, Frequency Reset Dance Group and special performances with Best Friends and Best Men from: Amidon, Brightwood, Ferebee Hope, Gage Eckington, Orr, Park View, and Simon Elementary Schools, Friendship Edison Public Charter School Jefferson, Kelly Miller, MacFarland, Ron Brown and Sousa Middle Schools, Shaw Junior High School P.R. Harris and Fletcher Johnson Educational Centers

May 16, 2006
Pittsburgh Recognition Ceremony
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Holiday Inn Select, University Center

Pittsburgh’s ceremony included recognizing students from both middle schools. Theresa, Denise and Danielle won Friendship Awards. L Nice was teh Essay Winner and Ms. Nolan was named most dedicated mentor. The Best Friend Girl Achievement Award went to Betty (for best attendance) and Chelsye. All Best Friends girls received a jewelry charm to recognize their commitment to the program throughout the year.

Peg Foster, Best Friends Program Director

May 12, 2006
Martinsville Recognition Ceremony
Martinsville, Virginia, Martinville Middle School

The program included two distinguished speakers: Latrice Mitchell, a former Martinsville Best Friend/Diamond Girl, and Nancy Redd, former Miss Virginia. Latrice was iint eh first Best Friends class at Martinsville Middle School. She was also in the first class of Diamond Girls to graduate from Martinsville High School. Currently, Latrice is studying Early Childhood Education at Patrick Henry Community College. She looks forward to completing her bachelor’s degree and teaching elementary education. Nancy Redd graduatd with honors from Harvard University in 2003. She majored in Women’s Studies. She was namded Miss Virginia in 2003 and went on to the top 10 at Miss America 2004. As an undergraduate Nancy was seleccted as one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Colleg Women “most likely to succceed – at anything!”” She supports a number of charities including 4_H and Martinville’s local Free-Clinic. Recently, Redd became a spokesperson for the Dale Carnegie Institute’s newest book How to Win Friends and Influence People for teens.

The Recognition Program also included dance numbers from the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. It concluded with all the girls singing the Best Friend theme song. Mentors were named in the program and honored. Supporters of this site include The Lucy Sale Foundation, Martinsville Virginia.

Carolyn Baptist, Best Friends Program Director

May 9, 2006
Indian River Recognition Ceremony
Indian River, Florida – Marsh Landing Restaurant, Fellsmere, Florida

This event was an awards luncheon for the Best Friends and Best Men of Indian River, Florida. Marcia Blackburn, local supporter of the program gave the Invocation Address. Dr. Martha McAdams, Principle of Sebastian Charter Jr. High School and Best Friends Program Director introduced Essay Contest Winners. The guest speaker was Ricki Klaus, a student from the University of Florida. Elayne Bennett was also on hand to make some remarks about this program. The event concluded with Best Friends and Best Men Awards, a performance by the 6th graders from Sebastian Jr. High School and a video presentation.

Dr. Martha McAdams, Best Friends Program Director

May 5, 2006
Charlotte Recognition Ceremony, NC
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Halton Arena

This event was attended by 2000 people! 500 students had a part in the ceremony while supportive parents, families and mentors cheered them on. The Diamond Girl Jazz Choir performed classic American Jazz songs. 175 Best Friends girls performed the Best Friends Theme Song and Step Chant. The Best Men boys from three schools performed a step drill about the four quadrants of the Best Men shield. Over 100 8th grade girls received a blue “Diamond Girl” sash to signify their transition into the Diamond Girl Leadership Program. The 8th grade boys received a Best Men Medallion of the Best Men shield. Seventeen graduating Diamond Girl seniors were presented in lovely formal gowns as they were escorted by a parent or grand parent. Fourteen seniors were honored with a college scholarship presented by Lesley Long, National Diamond Girl Program Director. Speakers for the ceremony included Anthony Bucci, Assistant Superintendent, and four middle school principals: Dr. Terry Brown, Cochrane Middle School; Kevin Carr, Ranson Middle School; Jamal Crawford, Northridge Middle School; and Raynard Lee, James Martin Middle School. The ceremony also included a special recognition of school advisors. The grand finale of the ceremony is a favorite Charlotte tradition. The 40 member Diamond Girl Step Team performed in perfect synchronization to a cheering crowd.

Diane Glover, Best Friends and Best Men Program Director