Futures for Children Celebrates 45 Years Serving Native American Communities With Three Circles of Support: Youth Leadership, Mentorship, and Families in Action

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Futures for Children is proud to celebrate 45 years advancing the work of organization founder, Dr. Richard Saunders. His sociological insight and love of humanity guides them as they strive to preserve the principles that served as the foundation for his work.

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Dr. Richard Saunders

"Man cannot be both ignorant and free."
- Dr. Richard Saunders

It is impossible to understand the history and mission of Futures for Children without understanding the organization's founder and his vision for the future. Dr. Richard Saunders, shown right, was a sociologist and educator who believed that in order to make positive social change, it is important to address the causes of the obstacles in children’s lives, like those that our American Indian students face, instead of merely addressing the symptoms of negative social conditions. He asked, “What do we do to get at the causes of poverty and overcome them, rather than to deal with the results of poverty?”

Dr. Saunders founded Futures for Children in 1961, which, at that time, worked to serve communities in South America, and he also founded its sister organization, Futuro para la Ninez. In 1968, Futures for Children (FFC) began applying the same principles that helped South American communities to assist American Indian communities. His philosophy for FFC and for positive social change was this: “People everywhere will do remarkable things when they work together for the well-being of their children.” He laid the foundation for FFC's "Self-Help" method, which encourages people to identify and overcome the challenges within their own communities.

When working in American Indian reservation communities, FFC strives to preserve the principles that guided his work: non-paternalism, non-interference, cultural respect, and maximum community participation. The organization draws inspiration from Dr. Saunders’ sociological insight and love of humanity that helped him found Futures for Children. His principles guide FFC into the future. Learn about the Three Circles of Support programs by clicking this link to the FFC website.

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Patricia Herbert
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