APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Free The Children would like to bring We Day to the United States to inspire youth across the country to become engaged global citizens by adopting villages and contributing to development activities overseas. The energy and message of We Day puts youth at the forefront of active global citizenship. We Day features inspirational and motivational speeches by leading activists such as Dr. Jane Goodall, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Elie Wiesel, Betty Williams and Al Gore. After We Day, youth are educated on social issues and action planning, developing leadership skills and engaging in world-changing action including fundraising for communities around the world. Free The Children is best able to incite change and action in young people throughout middle and high school. Once youth are inspired and given the support needed from teachers and peers in school, they commit to take action by planning fundraisers and raising awareness about important issues at home and abroad. Free The Children believes that investing in youth in North America leads to more youth fundraising to support their peers around the world.
We Day is key for 2 reasons:
-Makes changing the world cool and possible for youth and
-Leverages the power of the school system and school boards in a scalable and cost-effective manner to help raise a generation of change makers.
Free The Children is experienced in planning and executing large scale events. Now moving into its fourth year, We Day will be held in 3 major cities across Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. As a direct result of We Day and the year-long program, Free The Children has engaged over 100 school boards, 3000+ school groups, more than 1.5 million students across Canada and reached 5.82 million viewers through the nationally televised broadcasts.
Free The Children seeks to replicate the We Day model in key cities across the United States and motivate youth to adopt villages in communities overseas. Steps have been taken in this direction by Craig and Free The Children. The organization has an extensive grassroots presence in schools across the United States and there is a strong concentration of active youth groups in California and in New York. The founding of an office in Palo Alto, California has allowed Free The Children staff to create and build relationships with school boards, government offices and educators across the region. Through this network, Free The Children has made initial connections with youth, schools, families and businesses.
Free The Children's current partnerships in the United States provide an excellent foundation for the creation of new school board relationships moving forward. One way Free The Children is engaging new school partnerships involves inviting the Directors of Education from surrounding boards to We Day to experience the event first hand, and to reinforce and establish board level relationships. This has been Free The Children's practice with previous We Days, resulting in great success.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
How We Day in the United States will work:
-Free The Children will recruit schools using promotions and implement the registration process for We Day and the yearlong program throughout the Spring, to ensure expectations for schools are clearly communicated around the commitment
-Schools will apply to the event in the spring, which can accommodate an average of 10 students per school and 20,000 youth per venue)
-Students will attend We Day for free the next fall; additional students from across the country can watch live via webcast
-Youth will commit to specific local and global actions through their participation in the We Schools in Action Program
How the We Schools in Action program will work:
-After We Day, participating schools will receive motivational speaking tours, regional day-long workshops and curriculum materials to assist educators and students in maintaining their engagement in the year-long program. Speaking tours motivate students to take action and curriculum materials support teachers in maintaining students' involvement. Workshops will bring together small groups of teachers and students to create specific and measurable local and global action plans that will be implemented throughout the school year.
-A calendar of actions will be presented at We Day and reinforced throughout the school year with awareness-raising and fundraising campaigns, such as Halloween for Hunger, Vow of Silence and One Night Out. Halloween for Hunger engages young people to trick-or-treat for non-perishable food items. During Vow of Silence, youth around the world pledge to stay silent for 24 hours to support children who are silenced by the denial of their basic rights. One Night Out brings youth groups together to spend a night reflecting on the challenges facing homeless youth in their community.
The school group's hard work will directly affect their local community and/or communities overseas through the Adopt a Village program. To support schools in their efforts throughout the year, over 40 youth coordinators will be available via phone, Skype and email. In addition, schools will be provided with speaking tours, resource guides and curriculum. Students will also have the opportunity to embark on overseas volunteer experiences with the support of scholarship funding.
Deliverables and Measurement:
-All We Schools in Action groups will submit two progress reports throughout the school year to track their involvement and access additional resources
-Fundraising actions will be measured to track progress of youth actively supporting local and global organizations as a result of We Day
-Free The Children will monitor and track involvement in We Day and the year-long program, utilizing feedback from school progress reports to continuously refine and develop programming
- Free The Children is working with a consulting firm focused on social strategy to build out program monitoring and evaluation frameworks to further support its current measurement of domestic and international programs
Ten years ago a gathering of eminent leaders was convened by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to discuss the question: 'What is the greatest challenge facing our time?' Answers were debated at length, resulting in an agreement that the greatest threats are rooted in a lack of political and social will. Therefore the root of the challenge is that we are currently raising a generation of passive bystanders.
In response to this, Free The Children aims to inspire a new generation of active and globally-minded citizens through the implementation of engaging and highly-successful programs for middle and high school students, such as the We Schools in Action Program.
Free The Children implements these programs through a holistic development model that consists of three steps:
-Domestic Programming: Free The Children's local programming engages youth in North American schools with curriculum, speaking tours and international volunteer trips. Together these activities empower them to create awareness and fundraise for their peers in the developing world. Free The Children currently engages with 883 youth groups across the United States.
-International Programming: Funds can then be raised towards Free The Children's Adopt a Village community development model. These funds go directly to support communities in creating holistic, sustainable change and ultimately breaking free from poverty.
-Results in Tangible Change: These programs improve the lives of children and families in need in developing countries, while empowering youth to realize they can change the world. As a direct international result from We Day, youth adopt villages in rural communities around the world. In North America, youth become active global citizens who share their experience with their peers, creating a ripple effect of social change through their actions today and in the future as volunteers, donors, consumers, employers and employees, voters and societal leaders.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities
Free The Children is looking for the following types of partnership:
-Access to socially conscious speakers to take part in We Day
-Financial and in-kind support to make the We Day event and year-long program possible
-Introduction to influential contacts in the education sector, including directors of education, school boards, schools and educators)
-Access to new media, traditional media and social networking media
-CGI members serving as 'champions' for Free The Children, to spread the message within their networks
OFFERING: Implementing Partners, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities, Other
Free The Children can offer insight on working with school boards, educators and youth to implement new curriculum, programs and campaigns within the school system. Best practices in this area come from several years' experience working with educators and youth groups across the United States. Free The Children attracts media partners through the We Day event and national broadcast, as world renowned speakers highlight issues and engage a generation of young people to fundraise for their cause.