WHY Our Work Matters
Our Mission, Vision, & Goal
Friends Forever International empowers leaders to connect, strengthen, and serve communities around the globe by combining their passion to make the world a better place with the skills, experiences, and resources required to do so.
FFI’s vision is that every individual is supported to change their lives, their communities, and the world.
FFI's goal is that every person who desires, regardless of ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills beyond what they imagined possible before participating in the program. These leaders will transform the way that they see the world and realize that they can change the world for the better. Now.
The first delegation of FFI leaders, made up of Catholic and Protestant young men from Northern Ireland, traveled to New Hampshire in 1986. For many years, FFI was engaged primarily in the practice of intergroup contact theory. More recently, FFI has evolved its understanding of conflict transformation beyond the status quo of traditional conflict resolution programs that are focused on large scale geopolitical issues, personalities, and themes into one that emphasizes individual leadership and community-level action. We have grown from a grassroots group of volunteers to a global organization with campuses and leadership programs on three continents.
Robert 'Bob' Raiche, 1928-2014
Over the span of 60 years, Bob served communities from Hawaii to New Hampshire in various capacities, including as the executive director of several YMCAs. In his “retirement,” Bob fulfilled his lifelong ambition to be an entrepreneur by opening a toy store in Danvers, Massachusetts.
No matter what was going on in his life, Bob remained dedicated to Friends Forever International. He was always at the airport to greet the teams and did so just months before his passing. Bob received numerous awards and recognitions for his work with FFI, including the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice, the Martin Luther King JR. Diversity Award, The Paul Harris Fellow, and a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. A longtime Rotarian himself, Bob also received two of Rotary International’s highest honors: the Service Above Self Award and the Donald MacRae Peace Award.
Bob's family continues to play a role in making his vision for FFI, and the world, a reality. His son, Robert, serves on our Board of Directors, and his grandchildren volunteer both from programs and special events. Friends and family also established the Robert Raiche Fellowship Fund to help carry on the inspiring work Bob dedicated his life to. FFI established Bob Raiche Day in 2014, an annual tradition to honor Bob and to recognize the ability of one person to make a difference.
Bob inspired many to become involved in global peace projects. He is missed by all whose lives he touched and is a testament to one person's ability to change the world.