Free to Grow 

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The Free to Grow Program nurtures the physical, social, emotional, and mental well-being of children and youth by funding recreational and life-skill opportunities such as sports, arts, camps, driver's education training and leadership development. In 2020 and 2021, we delivered recreation kits to kids at home while activities were limited through our Free to Grow at Home initiative.

Free to Grow now also funds mental health counselling for children and youth, referred to us from CMHA and The Grove Hubs.

Funding is available for children and youth, ages 0 to 18, who live in Guelph and Wellington County, whose families are living below the low-income cut-off. To view eligibility guidelines, click here. For any assistance with Free to Grow please contact Maria Fitzpatrick, Program Assistant at or 519-826-9551 x 123

Why Do We Exist?

We exist because we believe that all children and youth should have the same opportunities in life, which are only possible when we look to address gaps in the system. By providing the children with fundamental sport, recreation, creative, life-skills, and mental health opportunities, we empower them to believe in hope for a brighter future.

How We Make a Difference:

  • Encourage children to try new experiences, and develop their talents, interests, and passions.
  • Allow children to continue in the activities they love so living in poverty doesn’t impact their access to community programs.
  • Help kids enhance their personal growth and development by learning valuable life and social skills, developing friendships, and engaging in their community.
  • Partner with local organizations, companies, and donors who want to support the growth and development of local children and youth.
  • Advocate for children, youth, and families living in poverty by sharing resources and education with the community and amplifying the voices of those with lived experiences.

2022 Facts & Information

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890 children and youth were able to participate because of Free to Grow funding and support.

FTG Activities

1,245 different activities were funded through Free to Grow such as camp and tutoring.


The average yearly household income of our applicant families was $22,078.

Program Partners

By partnering with other organizations, we are able to create a more centralized system while also stretching our collective resources to meet the growing demand. If your organization would like information about becoming a Program Partner, you can click here to review our partner package or you can speak to Megan Harron, Program Manager at 519-826-9551 x 129.


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At the Children's Foundation, we are committed to the actions and goals of the United Nations and their global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. Our Free to Grow Program supports the following SDGs: