On the Same Page is a special column by Janiece Evans-Page, head of the Fossil Foundation. Here, she shares the insights and strategies behind our global impact.
As we head into 2017, Fossil Foundation continues to work with organizations that are driving transformative change in the lives of young people around the world. We have supported our partners’ efforts to improve the lives of more than 250,000 underserved youth.
Looking forward, we are optimistic that this impact will grow. This growth requires continually fine tuning our strategy to leverage what is working and to figure out “what’s next”.
When we began our journey in 2013, we went broad with our efforts. We partnered with innovators to unleash the potential of as many underserved young people as we could – with no restrictions in regards to age.
What we’ve found, however, is that we can enable a bigger and deeper impact by doubling down and focusing our efforts on a more specific age range. To this end, we are now mindfully targeting young people, ages 12 and older—youth who can knowingly make choices towards a brighter future.
The Math is Simple
Why 12? By age 12, some young people have developed a personal sense of agency: They start to realize that they have the ability to take ownership of their own actions and choices, driving real change in their lives. Some are more curious. Some start to develop grit and how to masterfully use it to overcome obstacles. Others have a newfound appetite for leadership, whether it be charting their own path or guiding their peers into action.
To take advantage of this pivotal age window, we selectively invest in programs that uniquely put youth in control. Programs that help young people be a part of the solution by charting their own path in their communities—at school or at work—and create systemic change that will brighten their futures.
Our Youth-Focused Partners
One of our partners, LRNG, is taking an innovative approach to youth agency by focusing on empowerment in the connected age. They’re working with schools, businesses and communities to create a self-guided learning experience where young people earn digital badges throughout their journey, collecting confidence and credentials as they go. It’s built for each young person’s unique interests and goals, connecting their passions with their path.
Then there’s WE. WE puts youth in the driver’s seat by opening young minds up to the power they have to make an impact in the world. Their programs challenge young people to identify what local and global causes they’re passionate about, and then to step up and take action. WE is service and leadership learning at its best, teaching students how to live and work with purpose.
We’re also proud to partner with College Summit, an organization that puts youth in control by leveraging the power of peers. To get more high schoolers to attend college, the program works with influential students to step into leadership roles while influencing positive change, peer-to-peer.
And the list doesn’t stop there. Partners like WAVE, Camfed and Friends International also take one-of-a-kind approaches to help youth chart their own path—all with the same goal of transforming young lives today and in the future.
A simple-known fact has inspired much of our journey so far: Those who lead now, lead later. We are continuing to find ways to unlock the power of our youth, and we’re nowhere near done. There’s nothing our world depends on more than the next generation.
Head of Fossil Foundation