About Free Lunch Academy

What is Free Lunch Academy?

Free Lunch Academy (FLA) is a non-profit organization currently working in Chicago Public Schools. We use the arts to teach conflict resolution skills, reduce youth violence and prevent bullying. The services we provide include live performances and theater workshops.

Our primary focus is working with students to further the message of love, peace, tolerance and inclusion. Workshops teach students theater acting, play writing and digital media skills. Students deal with anti-bullying themes based in their own language and experience. Our goal is to foster learning environments that are safe, positive, productive and truly inclusive.

Founded in 2012, Free Lunch Academy has completed over 350 classroom workshop programs. We employ youth and young adults who value creativity. Our youth employment program provides our staff with paid internships, educational training and mentoring. Our staff learn job skills and how to be a mentor as they grow toward their goals in life.

Mission and Values

Free Lunch Academy is an artistic outreach program that uses drama to prevent drama and help heal trauma throughout our communities resulting in improved outcomes inside classrooms, within careers and throughout communities. Since 2014 Free Lunch Academy has successfully merged the worlds of arts, culture and educational entertainment to help overcome the adverse childhood experiences endured by the vast majority of today’s youth and young adult populations. This approach is known as our ACES Over ACES model. We believe that a dedicated focus to cultivating character in program participants early and often throughout their developmental years produces better people who make better decisions as students, workers, business owners and citizens, which ultimately results in a better world for us all. 

To date, Free Lunch Academy has successfully enriched, empowered and employed over 50,000 students, parents, educators and emerging artists throughout the Chicagoland area. Innovative live performances, interactive workshops, community events and creative youth employment programming have established Free Lunch Academy as the nation’s fastest growing provider of character development themed social emotional artistic learning services throughout its tenure. Our simple aim is to collectively impact the world for the better through a commitment to character development in classrooms, careers and communities.

Community and Relationships

We desire to build deep and meaningful relationships worldwide beginning here in the Chicago community.

Youth

Our focus is working to develop the youth here in the city and far beyond to become the absolute greatest versions of themselves.

Love

We look to leverage love in our quest to eradicate bullying and encourage buddying worldwide.

Peace and Tolerance

We aim to teach young people about accepting themselves and others while living truly inclusive lifestyles.

Education

We are passionate about educating youth using proven arts based curriculums.

Digital Media

We specialize in meeting students where they are at and teaching them how they like to learn in fast paced digital environments.

About Our Logo

Our logo is a visual representation of our mission and is described by four areas: artistry, education, mutual respect, and community

Free Lunch Academy & Friends will Eliminate Bullying by OCTOBER 1, 2025 1770 Days 12 Hours 8 Minutes 28 Seconds