Free The Children: An Organization that Drives Significant Impact on Youth
by Sue Tobias – Jul 28 2015
Over the past five years, our team at Mission Measurement has been studying Free The Children (FTC) as a charity and a social enterprise model that empowers youth—at home and abroad—to be the catalyst for social change.
We have conducted numerous studies and examined the opinions and actions of an array of stakeholders- from program participants to educators to corporate partners. We’ve also had the opportunity to travel to Kenya to see FTC’s international projects firsthand, and spoken at length to the staff, beneficiaries and community leaders. Both through our studies and in personal observations, FTC has demonstrated an innovative, sustainable and exciting model of social change.
In Canada, the U.S. and the UK, Free The Children runs an innovative year-long program, We Schools (formerly known as We Act), that nurtures compassion in young people and gives them the tools to create transformative social change—both globally and locally. We Day is the organization’s celebration of youth who have made a difference in their local and global communities. Both of these programs are funded by the organization’s corporate sponsors.
Overseas, Free The Children empowers communities to lift themselves out of poverty, using a holistic and sustainable development model, We Villages (formerly known as Adopt A Village.) Youth in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. raise funds to support FTC’s international work. FTC’s projects are designed with an eye to local empowerment so that the communities are empowered to ultimately take control of their funding and maintenance.
Free The Children demonstrates significant impact on youth involved in its programming. The facts are compelling. Our research shows that:
- FTC kids have grit- they are encouraged to be more purposeful and successful in school.
- They are also a lot more interested in school. They are more passionate and able to connect their curriculum to real-world events.
- And they are more likely to be leaders across issues, and to vote.
- These kids exhibit 21st century skills- they are more likely to work better in teams, lead projects, speak up, work in collaboration, all of which are critical professional development skills.
The organization is truly developing youth who are more likely to be successful in life. What’s more, our research has found that 67% of educators state that their FTC students experienced transformational growth in their ability to project self-confidence because of FTC.
Moreover, FTC Participants note significant changes themselves:
- 82% of youth who have participated in the organization’s programming feel inspired to be a role model to peers or siblings.
- 70% of these youth state that because of their involvement with FTC they have become strong leaders.
- 81% of alumni state that their FTC experience has helped them identify career goals;
- 62% say FTC played a role in their acceptance to college / university.
- 63% feel more confident in their ability to graduate from high school
These results speak to the dramatic impact that FTC has on youth as a result of their involvement with the organization. Foundations, governments, corporations, school boards and parents want to see meaningful change in youth. These results speak to the significant outcomes that FTC delivers and how the organization positively impacts youths’ lives.