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Policy in action is a distinguishing CDF characteristic. Through nationwide initiatives and community-based programs, we plant the seeds to develop the next generation of servant-leaders who will continue to reweave the fabric of community for children and youth. Our vision is to create a successor generation of servant-leaders who will drive community and national transformations and inspire and make long-term improvements for children.
This winter, CDF hosted Beat the Odds celebrations for high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity in Washington, D.C., Texas, California, Minnesota, Ohio, and New York. For the past 22 years, the program has supported more than 700 students with college scholarships, and has served as a catalyst for young people to become doctors, lawyers, Peace Corps volunteers, teachers and contributing citizens in their communities. Learn more about the Beat the Odds program.
Don’t live in a city hosting an event? Make a donation to the general scholarship fund.
An overarching Children’s Defense Fund priority is to build a strong, effective successor generation of young servant leaders to carry on the struggle for freedom and justice. CDF has committed to a five year campaign to train 5,000 next generation leaders, at least half of them Black males, to ensure a robust youth leadership pipeline and ongoing structures for service and advocacy in communities across America. Through the Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT®) program, CDF provides a beginner, intermediate, and advanced training series to equip the next generation’s leaders with the skills and support needed to take national, state and local action to replace the cradle to prison pipeline with a pipeline to college, productive work, and successful adulthood. Learn more about the YALT program.