Programs and Campaigns

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Freedom Schools® Program

Close your eyes and envision the words summer school. What comes to mind? If you picture a room full of children clapping, singing, laughing and learning to fall in love with books and reading, you could be imagining the experience of thousands of children across the country in CDF's Freedom Schools program.

Bring a CDF Freedom Schools Program to Your Community! Applications Due October 18, 2013.

Applications to operate a CDF Freedom Schools program in the summer of 2014 are available now. To learn about the application process to become a partner site, visit our national office website or contact Brandi Brown at

What are CDF Freedom Schools?

CDF Freedom Schools provide summer and after-school enrichment in a nurturing environment that helps children gain confidence and enthusiasm for reading and learning, using a model curriculum developed by CDF that integrates five core principles:

  •  high quality academic enrichment
  •  civic engagement
  •  intergenerational leadership development
  •  nutrition and mental health
  •  family involvement

The CDF Freedom Schools program works to ensure that each scholar is equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in life. The program boosts student motivation to read, and generates a more positive attitude towards learning, while connecting the needs of children and families to resources in their communities.

Why are CDF Freedom Schools so Important?

Education is the single most effective prevention against poverty and poor economic outcomes. CDF Freedom Schools have been proven to stem summer learning loss and to help bridge the education achievement gap.

Research shows that poor and disadvantaged children are 3.5 times more likely to drop out of school than their more advantaged peers, and 70% of Texas 4th graders can't read at grade level.  CDF Freedom Schools engages children as young as 5 in culturally relevant and age-appropriate reading activities, and makes learning meaningful and a whole lot of fun to capture the attention of even the littlest Texans!

How CDF Freedom Schools Work?

The model works because of sponsoring organizations in communities across Texas, including Houston, Beaumont, Dallas, Galveston, Fort Worth and San Antonio who step forward to help expand CDF's signature program to more children. Since 1999, the H.Y.P.E. CDF Freedom Schools site in Houston (the very first in Texas) has provided positive out-of-school learning experiences for hundreds of youth each summer. Applications to operate a CDF Freedom Schools program in 2014 are available now. Find out how your organization, school, church can get involved!

Partner Spotlight: Harris County Juvenile Probation Dept

After a very successful first, and now second and third summer, the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department expanded its involvement with the CDF Freedom Schools program to reach incarcerated youth at a second facility. After just six weeks, the program's impact was astonishing, with a dramatic decrease in the number of behavioral incidents reported and more youths enthusiastic about being productive and making a positive change for themselves and others.

See the program in action!

View the photos of the CDF Freedom Schools National Day of Social Action in 2011. To experience the magic of CDF Freedom Schools, email Brandi Brown, CDF-Texas Youth Leadership Development Director.