A Family Of Organizations
Free The Children is part of a family of organizations, including Me to We and We Day, that has a shared goal: to empower a generation to shift the world from ‘me’ to ‘we’—through how we act, how we give, the choices we make on what to buy and what to wear, the media we consume and the experiences with which we choose to engage.
Together, we are an international charity and educational partner, a social enterprise, a series of youth empowerment events that celebrate active citizenship, and a year-round program that educates and engages young people to take action on social issues.
Over the years, we’ve learned that the shift to ‘we’ will happen when we empower young people to fulfill their potential as agents of positive change. To achieve this goal, we create and provide all the resources they need to become active local and global citizens. We also work alongside educators, families, and companies to equip them with the tools to inspire a generation of caring and compassionate young leaders.
Here’s how we work
We empower young people and equip them with the resources, education, inspiration and action ideas they need to make a positive impact through We Act (a comprehensive educational program for schools that enhance service learning programs by delivering campaigns and support resources), and We Day (a celebration of young people’s year-long actions—they can’t buy a ticket to We Day; they earn their way through service).
To date, our impacts include:
- We Act: 1.7 million youth involved in 5,700 schools in Canada, US and UK; $26 million raised for 900 causes; 5.1 million hours of volunteer hours served
- We Day: 160,000 youth and supporters from 4,000 schools have earned their way to We Day through their actions with We Act; 3.3 million Facebook supporters
- Long-term alumni studies found: 80% of alumni volunteer more than 150 hours a year, 83% continued to give to a charity, 79% voted in last national election
Through Free The Children’s Adopt a Village development model, we implement holistic and sustainable development projects through five key pillars: education, health care, alternative income, food security, and clean water. As a result, we empower children and families in developing communities to remove the barriers to education and break the cycle of poverty.
To deepen the lasting impact and create systemic change, we link students and supporters in North America and the UK with a sister village in a developing community to nurture global understanding, and support children overseas. Students at home learn about their adopted village, and fundraise to support a specific project in that community within the five Adopt a Village pillars. In a spirit of transparency and to deepen education and nurture friendships, supporters can even travel to visit and volunteer in an Adopt a Village community.
To date, our development impacts include:
- built 650+ schools and schoolrooms, providing education to 55,000 children every day
- provided 30,000 women with economic self-sufficiency through our alternative income programs
- shipped $16 million+ worth of medical supplies around the world
- provided 1 million people with improved access to clean water, health care and sanitation
Me to We shows that changing the world isn’t limited to an occasional donation or volunteerism. Instead, building a better world means making better choices every day—from the clothing we wear, to the products we buy to the way we travel. A legally and financially separate organization, Me to We is not a charity and does not accept donations. Me to We is a social enterprise that empowers consumers to make choices that have real impacts. Me to We creates socially-conscious products and experiences with social and financial returns—for the artisans, consumers, and our charitable partner, Free The Children—and with minimal impact on the environment. We measure the bottom line not by dollars earned, but by the number of lives we change and the positive social and environmental impacts we make.
To date, our impact includes:
- More than $6.5 million has been donated to Free The Children in cash and in-kind
- Since 2008 Me to We has planted more than 538,000 trees
- By printing on post-consumer waste recycled paper, Me to We has saved 1,476 full-grown trees, 680,273 gallons of water, 43,055 pounds of solid waste, and 142,749 pounds of greenhouse gas
- 100,000 pounds of pesticides avoided
- 268,848 hours volunteered
- 520,306 people inspired through Me to We’s programs and resources
- 34,948 notebooks given through our buy a book give a book promise
- 800 Mamas employed by Me to We Artisans
- Youth Trips: Upon returning from a Me to We volunteer trip, 93% of youth intend to play a leadership role in social justice activities in their community, 85% are involved in volunteering in their communities after returning from a Me to We trip, and 66% felt they had experienced ‘transformative’ growth in their development as a leader