Freedom School Partners provides Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools summer literacy programs. Programs operate six weeks, Monday through Friday, at sites across Charlotte, including The Family Tree Freedom School site. Freedom School Partners works in collaboration with a network of community partners to provide Freedom Schools to children who most need and can least afford them.
The Integrated Reading Curriculum (IRC) engages children in books that reflect their own cultural images and history. IRC incorporates cooperative learning, role playing, group discussion and creative writing. Books are sent home weekly to build personal libraries. A morning pep rally, Harambee!, is packed full of singing, cheers, and a community guest reader.
Children build character strengths by participating in activities that promote resilience, conflict resolution and self-control. “I Can Make a Difference” is the theme of Freedom School. Afternoon enrichment activities include chess, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), field trips, and team building.
Strong, healthy and consistent relationships help children know that they are full of potential and are accountable to others. There is a 1:10 ratio in the classroom. Parents participate as volunteers to show children they support their learning experiences. Healthy meals, transportation, and daily encouragement provide children with emotional and physical security.
College students serve as classroom leaders called Servant Leader Interns and gain paid summer employment experiences. They undergo 90 hours of comprehensive training. Interns are hired through a competitive recruitment and interview process. In-depth, rigorous experiences inspire future advocacy.
Meaningful relationships and partnerships within the community strengthen the collective commitment to children and lead to sustainable change. Individuals and organizations invest in a scalable model by volunteering and providing financial support. Partnerships bridge cultural and socio-economic divides in the community.