Happy holidays and a fond farewell!

Dear Friends,

This Christmas we have some extra special greetings to make - one fond farewell and one warm welcome.

Five years after founding Franklin Scholars, I could not be prouder of what the team has achieved. Through 49 school partnerships we have supported over 3,000 young people across 6 regions of England.

Students have seen their academic progress accelerate, and their resilience and leadership skills develop. But what I continue to find most inspiring is how, year after year, so many young people are continuing to put themselves forward to help others in their school communities.

Jess at one of this year’s Festival of Ideas!

Jess at one of this year’s Festival of Ideas!

I set up Franklin Scholars because I knew that children come up against all sorts of challenges as they pass through school - not just academic but, often more significantly, social, emotional and mental health related challenges. But I also knew that in every school there is this huge, wonderful pool of other young people who are really well placed to help.

We do it because everybody needs a champion. Because human connection and relationships can move mountains. Because no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.

Giving young people the opportunity to mentor others isn't rocket science. But it works. Before they even take their GCSEs, these Franklin Scholars are developing a sense of purpose, self-worth and responsibility, recognising that they have a part to play in society. And this is the stuff that sticks.

As Benjamin Franklin put it, "When you're good to others, you are best to yourself."

And so it is with very mixed emotions that I'm stepping aside from Franklin Scholars in the new year. But primarily, looking back: pride; and looking forward: hope.

We have recruited a fabulous new CEO in Kim Reuter, who joins us after a decade working in international development, research programme management and public policy. Kim will be developing the strategy to take Franklin Scholars to new levels of scale and sustainability, growing our impact to reach thousands more young people in the years to come.

I'm so excited to watch the organisation grow and flourish and would like to take this opportunity to publicly welcome Kim, while also thanking the rest of the team - Olly, Georgia and Laina - for all the hard work and all the laughs along the way.

With warmest wishes to all of our friends, colleagues and supporters for a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019,

Jess, Founder of Franklin Scholars