The Impact of Youth Programs

As an educational partner of children, schools and families, Free The Children’s local programs educate, engage and empower young people to become active global citizens.

At Free The Children, we believe in charity that makes a high-impact and is accountable, cost-effective and innovative.

  • Our programs have a massive reach, impacting hundreds of thousands of young people each year.
  • Participation in our domestic programming fundamentally alters youth’s value systems, producing transformative change in their lives.
  • Most charities focus on children and young people as the recipients of aid, as problems to be solved. At Free The Children, we proudly believe that youth can be the greatest problem-solvers.

We offer an unparalleled depth of programming that touches every aspect of a young person’s life.
Youth Reached by Our Programming

Research shows that our programming has a lasting impact.

We equip young people with tools they need to be confident young change-makers and lifelong active citizens who are part of a global family.



“983,378”,”young people participated in Free the Children’s domestic programs in 2012.”,”6,145″,”youth groups across North America were engaged by our team.”

“875,000lbs”,”of non-perishable food items were collected for local food banks by participants of We Scare Hunger.”,”242,576″,”individuals learned about Aboriginal history, culture and traditions through We Stand Together.”

“98%”,”of students that attend We Day are empowered to make a meaningful difference.”,””,””


A lifelong impact

In 2011, Mission Measurement conducted a survey of Free The Children alumni to assess the lasting impact of Free The Children’s domestic programming.

Mission Measurement, LLC, is a consulting firm, that measures social impact. Mission Measurement works with nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs to measure the impact of social investments.

The survey found:



“90%”,”of respondents now believe they are responsible for addressing social issues.”,”73%”,”of respondents agree or strongly agree that their involvement with Free The Children resulted in strengthened character and sense of self.”

“62%”,”of respondents agree or strongly agree that their involvement with Free The Children made a positive contribution to their academic achievement.”,”73%”,”of respondents agree or strongly agree that their involvement with Free The Children resulted in increased community engagement.”

“83%”,”have made a financial charitable donation in the last year.”,”80%”,”of alumni volunteered in the last year and did so for more than 150 hours over the course of the year on average.”

“79%”,”of voting age alumni report having voted in the most recent national election, double the rate of their peers.”,””,””


In a 2012 third-party impact survey prepared by Mission Measurement, LLC, on the impact of We Day, educators agreed that We Day transforms school culture and empowers teachers and students.



“98%”,”said We Day inspired their students to take action immediately.”,”75%”,”said We Day educated their students on important issues.”

“71%”,”said We Day provided them with renewed inspiration for teaching.”,””,””



Regardless of the issue students and educators identify as most important to them, they are themselves changed by the act of learning and taking action, as evidenced by the testimonials below:

“My grade 8 class has transformed from a group of disparate individuals into a community of cooperative, empathetic, global citizens. The class reputation was one of disrespect, attitude, and negative behavior. Now they are viewed as true leaders, and receive regular praise for their outstanding turnaround and accomplishments. They have taken the lead on developing a social identity for our school…This class has come so far, I am so proud of not only their accomplishments, but the outstanding individuals they have become. On field trips, educators that work with our class always comment to me their remarkable behavior. They tell me about horror stories of dealing with intermediates, and mention this group is special. I tell them luck has nothing to do with it. They’ve bought into the messages of We Day and inclusion, respect and community, which I’ve delivered from day one, and the results are extraordinary. “

– Teacher, Roseneath Centennial Public School, Roseneath, ON


“My class has begun to see themselves as a part of a greater whole. Subjects and lessons take on greater meaning and relevance for them. They have a focus and a funnel for their passion and enthusiasm. They often tell me “I never knew that!” and then they jump into action. I have seen children become strong leaders showing maturity, initiative, confidence, and compassion. They see they are not alone. They see they are fortunate. And they see they are responsible for making the change! “

– Teacher, Forestview Public School, Niagara Falls, ON


“I felt like I could make a difference in the world. Now when I go shopping, I actually think about what I buy. It has also changed my family…we recycle everything possible and are more cautious of what we buy. We think because we are small, no one will listen to us, but our voices are large…We are the children and the future is ours.

– Student, Cindrich Elementary, Surrey, BC