Free the Children was created in 1995 by then 12-year-old Craig Kielburger to encourage young people to volunteer in activities to relieve the plight of underprivileged children. Projects have included food and clothing drives, environmental clean-up activities, youth conferences and support to international NGOs working to alleviate child poverty. By becoming involved in these volunteer activities, participants develop leadership skills, confidence, and a sense of responsibility as citizens of the world.
In response to the shortcomings of the Ontario Ministry of Educations imposition of mandatory voluntary requirements, Free the Children founders Marc and Craig Kielburger have created a curriculum-linked program called Volunteer Now, which equips young people to take action on issues of concern to them. Since its creation in 2002, Volunteer Now has become part of the curriculum in nearly 200 high schools in Ontario’s 11 largest school boards, and has involved over 200,000 Canadian youth in active volunteering.
From a strong Ontario base, the grant is to solidify Volunteer Now’s entry into British Columbia, and to expand the Alberta program. In addition, in response to requests from students and school districts, the grant is to establish an exchange program among participating schools, and adapt the program for First Nations communities.
Reports & Publications
- Kielburger, Craig. Free the Children: The Worlds Largest Network of Children Helping Children through EducationIn Notes from Canada’s Young Activists: A Generation Stands Up for Change Severn Cullis-Suzuki, et al (eds.) Vancouver: Greystone Books (2007): 96-105.
- $ 540,000
- Funding Type: Past Initiatives
- Initiatives: McConnell Reconciliation Initiative