1.Overview/background of the foundation
The charity Foundation “Opening Horizons " was established by KFC Russia in 2015. Its goal is to open the horizons of the future for young people. The foundation's programs help teenagers from 12 to 18 years old in a difficult life situation to make an informed professional choice and start a successful independent life.
At the moment, the Foundation’s programs are implemented in 40 regions of Russia. Our plan is to expand the geography of programs as much as possible.
2. What types of programs does Opening Horizons have in place to help orphans in the region reach their full potential?
The Foundation’s programs and strategy were developed in accordance with the global CSR strategy of the KFC brand. We chose career guidance and socialization for vulnerable teens to be the main direction of the programs, as shown most acute and important issues by research.
Less than 25% of orphanage graduates successfully adapt to society, according to official statistics. One of the ways to make the situation better is to socialize teenagers and train them to find a job, easily enter adulthood and master a profession. Such programs were developed for the Opening Horizons Foundation.
“Generation Choice " is the large-scale program, being conducted in 89 orphanages in Russia. It is a combination of events – workshops, games, training, tours to enterprises, meetings with representatives of various professions. The "Generation Choice" program was awarded in the category “Best project in support of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all" at the Eventiada IPRA Golden World Awards.
Another program is designed to provide support for orphanages graduates at the beginning of their independent life. Every year in Russia, more than 2000 people graduate from orphanages. Many graduates experience difficulties at the beginning of their independent life, but with the necessary support and adaptation, they achieve good results. Participants receive individual information and consulting support from the program's volunteers on issues of household and social adaptation, labor adaptation, as well as emotional support and training in social and everyday skills.
3. How can team members/employees get involved?
In Russia we see corporate volunteering becoming more and more popular every year. Naturally beneficial to society, it has additional values such as a positive impact on the company's reputation, influence on employee’s leadership skills development.
KFC team members, line managers and top managers usually volunteer in the Foundation’s programs. For example, in 2020, each of KFC Russia’s executive leaders met the program participants online and told them about their professions.
4. Can you explain how the program adapted in response to the global pandemic?
The pandemic has changed the way many people live their lives. Like all people in Russia, children from orphanages and boarding schools appeared isolated, which worsened their psychological state and led to discipline cases, conflicts and sometimes suicidal behavior.
That is why it was very important for us that during self-isolation, volunteers continued to stay in contact with children and continued to help them learn new things and make further plans for life. In April-May 2020, we transferred all programs activities to zoom format with interactive lessons, online interviews, movie discussion club and flash mobs. As for now, we continue to refine the new format and successfully go on with it in some regions of the country.
5. What’s the most rewarding part of the role for you?
We all make a real change when helping children and teenagers. After all, the society's growth and development start with the youth. The most valuable thing for me is to know that we make that change.
I am so proud of my team and thousands of volunteers who not only implement the Foundation’s programs, but also organize major projects and programs to assist other categories of needy: the elderly, the poor, big families, people with special needs, animals and charities and the planet. Today, the Volunteer League of KFC Russia CIS and CEE has 2.5 thousand volunteers who annually perform more than 1000 good deeds. Just imagine what global positive changes they bring to our society, our brand, our team!