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

2018 Summer Program

Our 2018 CDF-Texas Servant Leader Interns (SLIs), pictured here at the CDF Freedom Schools National Training in Knoxville, TN, are thrilled to lead this next generation of leaders. Join the movement to inspire and empower by serving as a READ ALOUD guest!

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

AUSTIN

GALVESTON

Welcome Table, Inc. Freedom School
Pecan Springs Early College Prep
Contact: Mr. Eric Kennedy
Phone: 512-576-7262
NIA Cultural Center Freedom School
Alamo Elementary School
Contact: Ms. Sue Johnson
Phone: 409-765-7086

DALLAS

HOUSTON

Building Opportunities & Opening Minds Freedom School
JN Ervin Elementary School
Contact: Ms. Jamie Jenkins
Phone: 972-449-0205
HYPE Freedom Schools
Blueridge United Methodist Church
Contact: Ms. Brandi Brown
Phone: 832-443-8517

FORT WORTH

 
AB Christian Learning Center Freedom Schools
Community Missionary Baptist Church
Contact: Ms. Loretta Burns
Phone: 817-457-3911
HYPE Freedom Schools
Powered by My Brother's Keeper
Bruce Elementary School
Contact: Ms. Brandi Brown
Phone: 832-443-8517
   
AB Christian Learning Center Freedom Schools
Ebeneezer Missionary Baptist Church
Contact: Ms. Loretta Burns
Phone: 817-457-3911
HYPE Freedom Schools
Cullen Missionary Baptist Church
Contact: Ms. Brandi Brown
Phone: 832-443-8517
   
AB Christian Learning Center Freedom Schools
House of Prayer and Praise Church
Contact: Ms. Loretta Burns
Phone: 817-457-3911
HYPE Freedom Schools
Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church
Contact: Ms. Brandi Brown
Phone: 832-443-8517
   
AB Christian Learning Center Freedom Schools
Martin Luther King Center
Contact: Ms. Loretta Burns
Phone: 817-457-3911
HYPE Freedom Schools
Powered by My Brother's Keeper

Katherine Smith Elementary School
Contact: Ms. Brandi Brown
Phone: 832-443-8517
 

 WACO

Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church
Freedom School
Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church
Contact: Rev. Jerome Johnson
Phone: 682-518-4428
Baylor University Freedom School
Indian Springs Middle School
Contact: Dr. Lakia Scott
Phone: 713-791-8520
   
Rising Star Baptist Church Freedom School
Rising Star Baptist Church
Contact: Rev. Ralph Emerson
Phone: 817-536-5461, ext. 17