75 years ago, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), formally known as Future Homemakers of America, was founded at a convention in Chicago, Illinois when 29 Home Economic leaders came together with the ideal of creating one national student organization aimed at preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders in the home and workplace.
Since 1945, FCCLA has been addressing important personal, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) education-previously known as Home Economics. At its height, the organizations’ membership peaked at 607,175 with members from 53 state associations, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Bo Jackson are a few of FCCLA’s most nationally recognized alumni.
Today, more than ten million students have been involved in FCCLA and have changed countless lives around the country by participating in National Programs, competing in Competitive Events, exploring Career Pathways, and attending National Conferences. This student leadership program is for 6th-12th graders and continues to be the only Career and Technical Student Organization focused on preparing youth for careers that support families as its central focus. FCCLA strengthens members employability skills by preparing students to be college-and career-ready. Through FCCLA students focus on career pathways in the Hospitality and Tourism, Visual Arts and Design, Education and Training, and Human Services careers.
FCCLA is important for students because it provides opportunities they may not get otherwise
FCCLA allows for participation at local, state, and national levels. The Utah Association of FCCLA currently has around 2,900 members in junior high and high schools. Through Family and Consumer Sciences education members focus on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner, and community leader and while developing skills for life.
FCCLA members explore career opportunities and build their real-world skills by developing projects, engaging and participating in events, and competing regionally and nationally for scholarships and awards. Last year nearly 17,039,918 community members were reached through FCCLA members’ community service.
Each year the Utah FCCLA members participate in a state-wide service project. This year Utah FCCLA members partnered with WeHelpTwo, an organization that provides legs for amputees, who are not able to afford them. At the Utah FCCLA State Conference in September members sold to provide a leg for a boy named, Rafiew. Thanks to the FCCLA members of Utah, Rafiew is now walking on two new legs again and dreams of becoming a doctor so he can help others just like he has been helped. This year 41 schools have participated in the state-wide service project which has resulted in 34 legs being provided for amputees.
Other community service projects Utah FCCLA members have organized:
- FCCLA members from a Utah high school advocated to change international adoption laws. These students served in orphanages and learned about the difficulty many couples in the U.S. experience with laws and governments which prevent international and interracial adoptions. Using social media they met with lawyers using social media and lobbied for open adoption.
- FCCLA members worked on a yearlong campaign, "Don't Drive Stupid." The campaign was presented to the high school student body. Students signed a wrecked car pledging to not text and drive.
- A junior high FCCLA chapter planned and budgeted to make and donate baby blankets for Primary Children’s Hospital.
- A high school FCCLA chapter sewed bibs to donate to a school for kids with special needs. The students that attend this school are non-verbal and/or wheelchair bound. These FCCLA members raised funds to buy the materials for the bibs. When they delivered the bids FCCLA members spent time with the special needs students.
- A high school FCCLA chapter sponsored a clothing drive for the homeless shelter to collect warm clothes, winter hats, and gloves. They involved the student body as well as community members.
The support from FCCLA’s partners and sponsors helps FCCLA continue to support youth preparing for success. FCCLA offers many scholarships and awards. Last year FCCLA awarded over $11,200,00 worth of scholarships to its members. Supporting FCCLA provides a platform for businesses, organizations, and colleges/universities to connect with top youth leaders in a variety of careers such as Early Childhood Education, Culinary Arts, Fashion Construction, Interior Design, Event Management, and Nutrition and Wellness.
A seasoned chapter adviser has observed the impact on students. “FCCLA is important for students because it provides opportunities they may not get otherwise. FCCLA helps student develop confidence and self-esteem in a world that too often does the opposite. FCCLA gives students the chance to do hard things, see projects through, and see success. FCCLA shapes members’ into great leaders in their families, careers, and our communities.”
Each year over 1,300 Utah FCCLA students compete in different competitive events. Volunteers are needed each year. For more information on how to become involved in FCCLA visit www.fcclainc.org or www.utahfccla.org.