Freedom School

Unveiling the Empowering Journey of Freedom School: Nurturing Minds, Empowering Futures

The CDF Freedom Schools program is a six-week summer literacy enrichment program for K-12 students, called Scholars. The primary goal of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools program is to help prevent summer reading loss. Other program goals include increasing children’s love of reading, self-esteem, and cultural awareness.

The program focuses on holistic development extended to mental health awareness. The reading of 'Take a Breath' resonated deeply with the children, imparting practical techniques to manage emotions. Witnessing the impact of such teachings on the children's well-being was a testament to the program's efficacy.

“Introducing new materials about black history but not telling them to hate America, they learn about Tamiya Rice, Trayvon Martin, etc.”, said Amber Dukes. “Seeing the hurt in the kid's eye was hard but it was something the kids needed to learn."

Yet, challenges arose, especially in introducing sensitive topics like black history, evoking emotions of pain and struggle. Navigating through these challenges with openness and compassion became an integral part of the children's learning journey. The transformative power of the Freedom Schools program became evident in the heartwarming success stories and moments that marked the children's growth. The 'Finally' showcase, 'Harambee' gatherings, and engaging community readings were testaments to their newfound confidence and unity.

Reflecting on her involvement, Ms. Dukes emphasized the important role of early childhood education in shaping the futures of children and communities. Recognizing children as the leaders of freedom and potential, she emphasized the significance of being an example, offering opportunities, and instilling the belief that every voice matters.

“Children are our freedom. They are our next generation”, said Amber Dukes of the Freedom School program, “showing these children opportunities, they can do more in life, and their voice matters is something I'm proud to be a part of.”

The Freedom School program, with its rich curriculum and holistic approach, is not just a summer enrichment program; it's a catalyst for change, nurturing empowered minds and fostering a brighter future for generations to come. Because this program has impacted many lives, we at the School of Education hope to foster the same nourishment for our students and beyond.

More Info

If you would like to get involved with the Freedom School program, please contact Les Etienne by email at for more information.

CDF Freedom Schools Program