10 Things You Need to Know About Freedom Schools

CDF Freedom Schools program sites are safe and restorative learning spaces where:

1. Children are surrounded by caring adults and college age young adults from their community.  At a classroom ratio of 1:10, young adults share their enthusiasm for learning and reading, and commit to serving them as authentic mentors.

2. Scholars read high quality books. Books not only high quality they are also fun. Children are engaged in learning activities that are appropriate to their developmental needs and interests.

3. Each day begins with “Harambee!” Harambee is a 30-minute activity to celebrate and affirm the value of each participant and prepare for work and learning ahead

4. Scholars are given nutritious food daily. Children receive two nutritious meals and a healthy snack each day in the summer model and nutritious snacks during the after-school program. 

5. Parents are engaged as site volunteers and participate in weekly workshops. Freedom School staff and volunteers encourage parents to focus on children’s developmental needs, civic responsibility, and other topics of interest.

6. Children are encouraged and supported to dream, set goals for themselves, and cultivate positive attitudes and high expectations. Freedom Schools is designed to foster individual growth and self-discovery for every child in the program.  

7. Scholars take time to learn about themselves. Young people whose lives have been interrupted and impacted by crises receive consistent, daily service to better understand themselves, their situations, each other, and their potential. 

8. Families have access to free and high quality childcare. Local health care providers provide free mobile clinics for all scholars and their siblings.

9. Freedom Schools continues to grow! Since 1995, more than 100,000 K-12 children have had a CDF Freedom Schools experience and more than 13,000 college students and young adult staff have been trained to deliver this empowering model.

10. You can donate to your communities Freedom Schools right here!  Your contribution will help ensure that Children’s Defense Fund continues to provide and strong and independent voice for ALL children in America in 2014 and beyond. Please make checks out to All People CDF Freedom Schools. Click here to donate. 

See more at: http://www.childrensdefense.org/programs-campaigns/freedom-schools/about/#sthash.zphT6Lus.dpuf

Kids Reading CDFFreedomSchools healthy

Civil Rights leader Congressman John Lewis inspired nearly 2,000 college students in Knoxville Tennessee at the CDF Freedom School national training on June 1st. Sharing his personal story, Lewis urged the servant leaders to be a “headlight not a tail light for change” to finish the work of the movement.

This summer there are more than 200 Children’s Defense Fund of a record  serving more 12,500 children. The college-aged serval leaders will mentor children and teach them Integrated Reading Curriculum, proven to stem summer learning loss and improve reading skills. Click here to learn more about the program.  

Meet Darlene Scheid!

Darlene Scheid is the newest member of the Community Development for for All People Team serving as the Youth Development Director!  Darlene is incredibly excited to be a part of the All People Freedom Schools Program. Get to know Darlene and learn more about what makes the All People CDF Freedom Schools Program unique. 

What are you most looking forward to at Freedom Schools this Summer? 

As the new Youth Development Director, I am most looking forward to the whole Freedom School experience; like a motivational Harambee session each morning, welcoming Read Aloud guests and program partners into our Freedom Schools program each day, and most importantly, establishing a relationship with each of the scholars and their families!

What makes All People CDF Freedom Schools so unique? 

First, the CDF Freedom Schools program model is a stellar summer program because it provides enrichment through a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components:

  1. High quality academic enrichment
  2. Parent and family involvement
  3. Social action and civic engagement
  4. Intergenerational servant leadership development
  5. Nutrition, health and mental health

I think we are incredibly fortunate, specifically at CD4AP, to have a variety of community and program partners to support and enhance our Freedom Schools experience for scholars. From Field Trip Fridays to special guest programs like Local Matters, Arts in the House, Clarity Creative Institute, Girls Scouts, and so much more! Our scholars have the opportunity to expand their horizons and maximize their potential this summer in ways that have yet to imagine!

How many scholars are enrolled this year? 


Wow, thats great! Anything new or exciting going on this summer with our local funders? 

This Summer, All People Freedom Schools Program is partnering with  Nationwide Children’s Hospital to provide physicals and wellness checkups for all scholars and their siblings via the mobile clinic. Click here for more details. 

All People CDF Freedom Schools is in its last week. Check out this video highlighting the best interviews and moments of the summer!

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 The read-aloud guest for July 25 was Janet Ravneberg, Impact Director at United Way of Central Ohio. She read, “Oh The Places You’ll Go” by Dr Suess.  Janet has been with United Way for 25 years. What she like most about her job?  ”Every day is an opportunity to connect with people to make a difference,” says Janet. 

 We are thankful to have guests like Janet at the All People CDF Freedom Schools! 

July The read-aloud guest for Wednesday, July 24 was Rev. Karen Cook, pastor at Church for All People. When asked about the importance of All People CDF Freedom Schools, “Its vital.  No one can take away your knowledge. We have seen an increase in graduation rates, increase in reading scores, science scores, and math scores across the city. I hope there are more Freedom Schools last year,” says Karen. 

The read-aloud guest for Tuesday, July 23 was Nancy Szaronos who works at a local hair salon. Nancy read, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” by William Joyce.

When asked what she thought of All People CDF Freedom Schools, Nancy said, “The enthusiasm, the excitement, every person in this school just has such giant smiles…when it was recognition time I wanted to recognize the staff because they do such an awesome job.” 

Watch her full interview above!

 The read-aloud guest for Monday, July 22 was Bill DeMora who works at Strategies Unlimited. 

Our read-aloud guest for Friday was Mark Stansbery, Center Manager at Barack Community Center.  In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday this past week, Mark read Mandel’s 1994 inaugural speech.

The scholars discussed what the word “freedom” meant to them. In the video above, Mark tells us what freedom means to him and why he enjoys his work at Barack Community Center.