Measuring Our Impact

The ELF's parent charity, Sage Youth-Jeunesse Sage, provided direct literacy program delivery to marginalized children in Ottawa from 1992 to 2015. These programs form the foundation and model for the ELF's literacy and life-skills workbooks and training systems. Sage Youth closed in 2015 due to funding challenges. Some of its programs are now continuing at the ELF. Our impacts reflect the achievements in these programs.

Long Term Impacts1

100% of past program participants, in our high school and former after-school programs, were still in school or had completed high school.

The following data reflects children in our after-school program:

  • 90% of program participants who finished high school had gone on to post-secondary studies
  • 85% of program participants who finished high school were employed
  • 75% of program participants who finished high school were employed AND in post-secondary
  • 100% of program participants who finished high school were either employed or in post-secondary education
Over half of those from our high school support program, who had graduated, were enrolled in post-secondary education. This enrollment rate is higher than would be expected, given that this is a vocational school for students who tend to have learning exceptionalities, and who are typically focused on preparing for employment rather than on post-secondary education.

Immediate Outcomes

ELF students achieve excellent improvements in their literacy skills. Our standardized literacy evaluation system typically shows increases of up to 200% during a child's participation in our programs.

"When I went into Sage Youth, I felt myself get over barriers. Without the program, I would have struggled a lot more with reading and writing." - Hanna, Sage Youth Program alumni

"Instead of always feeling like, 'Why am I not getting this, what's wrong with me?' I started to understand my school work. Sage Youth gives you methods of learning, then you build this comfort with figuring things out. I thought, 'I want to do this more!' I got this drive for learning that continues to this day." - Sonam, Sage Youth Program alumni

International Recognition

The ELF's CEO, Usha Dhar, was elected to the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship in 2010, through which the ELF was recognized as an organization that provides system-changing solutions for the world's most urgent social problems. This determination was made following Ashoka's extensive, independent review of our annual reports, financial statements, evaluation systems, and program site visits, as well as through panel interviews with our CEO and interviews with our team members and partners in community.  www.ashoka.org

1Results based on a longitudinal survey conducted in January 2017 with 54 past and present ELF participants aged 15-24 from two ELF program sites: one, our former after-school program, serving low-income, high-risk, racialized communities; the second situated in a vocational high school for students with multiple learning exceptionalities. The ELF expresses appreciation to Sue Merrill for collaborating with us on our longitudinal study and Theory of Inspiration, and for sharing her expertise.