CDF Freedom Schools® Program

The CDF Freedom Schools® program seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world today. By providing summer and after-school reading enrichment for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the CDF Freedom Schools program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps – and is a key part of CDF’s work to ensure a level playing field for all children.

Currently, more than 600 Pre-K through 12th grade children attend a CDF Freedom Schools program in Texas and more than 70 college students and recent graduates are engaged as Servant Leader Interns.

From 2011-2015, we partnered with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department to deliver the CDF Freedom Schools model to incarcerated youth in secured residential and detention facilities. After the first six weeks, the program's impact was astonishing, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the number of behavioral incidents reported, and more youths enthusiastic about being productive and making positive life changes.

About The Program

The CDF Freedom Schools program is based in a pedagogy of emancipation and transformation, that comprises a research-based and multicultural curriculum centered on five essential components: high-quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health. Our instructional approach has been recognized as a model strategy to effectively and joyfully engage children and young adults around culturally relevant literature, learning, and making a difference in the world.

Making a Difference

The CDF Freedom Schools “I Can Make a Difference” theme lets children know that they are not citizens in waiting, but agents of change. Children are empowered to serve and make a difference in themselves, their families, schools, communities and world with hope, education, and action. We train thousands of college students and recent graduates each year as Servant Leader Interns to deliver the CDF Freedom Schools Integrated Reading Curriculum, a dynamic educational methodology that aligns with Common Core State Standards and includes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM education) activities.

Making an Impact

Research has shown that the CDF Freedom Schools program is making an impact in the lives of children and families across the country. In 2012, a four-year study of children enrolled at Charlotte CDF Freedom Schools sites conducted by the University of North Carolina, Charlotte found that over 90 percent of participating children showed no summer learning loss, and 63 percent showed gains in reading. In 2011, the Harvard Family Research Project released a report called “Year-Round Learning: Linking School, Afterschool, and Summer Learning to Support Student Success.” The CDF Freedom Schools program was one of the 14 innovative national programs highlighted in the report as having “demonstrated success in providing quality learning opportunities for youth.” In 2004, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning honored the CDF signature program with the nation’s first Excellence in Summer Learning Award.

Making History

The CDF Freedom Schools program is rooted in the Civil Rights Movement, the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, and the courageous efforts of college aged youth to make a difference. The program was reborn in 1992 under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund as an intergenerational effort to reweave the fabric of families and communities and create a new generation of servant leaders to prepare children for school and for life.

Read more about the CDF Freedom Schools program

2016 Summer Program Sites

If you are interested in serving as a volunteer READ ALOUD GUEST, please contact the program site nearest you for scheduling.



Welcome Table, Inc. Freedom School
Oak Springs Elementary School
3601 Webberville Rd.
Austin, TX  78702
Contact: Ms. Gina Houston
Phone: 512-804-2660

NIA Cultural Center Freedom School
Coastal Village Elementary School
721 10th St.
Galveston, TX  77550
Contact: Ms. Sue Johnson
Phone: 409-765-7086



Community Missionary
Baptist Church Freedom School

1125 E. Jessamine St.
Fort Worth, TX  76104
Contact: Rev. Robert McGinty
Phone: 817-923-6960

HYPE Freedom Schools
Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church
7701 Jutland St.
Houston, TX  77033
Contact: Ms. Brandi Brown
Phone: 832-443-8517

Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church
Freedom School

2951 Evans Ave.
Fort Worth, TX  76104
Contact: Rev. Jerome C. Johnson
Phone: 817-874-3307
HYPE Freedom Schools
Cullen Missionary Baptist Church
13233 Cullen Blvd.
Houston, TX 77047
Contact: Ms. Brandi Brown
Phone: 832-443-8517

Rising Star Baptist Church Freedom School
4216 Avenue M
Fort Worth, TX  76105
Contact: Ms. Lisa Anderson
Phone: 817-536-5461 ext. 17

IEA–Camp Bright Star Freedom School
McCabe Roberts United Methodist Church
1205 Roberts Street
Beaumont, TX 77701
Contact: Ms. Angeliqueca Avery
Phone: 409-839-8778


Tarrant Churches Together Freedom School
St. Andrew's United Methodist Church
522 Missouri
Fort Worth, TX  76104
Contact: Rev. Melinda Veatch
Phone: 817-737-5554

Margaret's TreeHouse Freedom School
Margaret's TreeHouse
3415 14th Street
Plano, TX 75074
Contact: Ms. Margertree Holmes
Phone: 469-222-9349

 Cecilia Joseph Kiri-Rose Kendall
 Director of Operations Youth Development Associate