Freedom Schools Begin in Cincinnati

Freedom Schools Begin in Cincinnati with Visit from Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman

What:  Approximately 200 children, grades K-8, will launch four Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® in Cincinnati this week with a visit from CDF Founder and President Marian Wright Edelman.  These four Cincinnati schools—made possible by the generous support of local funders and aligned with other summer enrichment programs such as CPS’ “Fifth Quarter”—join 18 other CDF Freedom Schools in Ohio and 177 total sites across 24 states, which will serve nearly 12,000 children this summer.

The program provides summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning.  Children are taught using a model integrated curriculum that supports children and families around 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.  More than 90,000 children have had a CDF Freedom Schools experience since 1995.

CDF Freedom Schools sites are safe and restorative learning spaces where children are surrounded by caring adults and college students from their community who share their enthusiasm for learning and reading and are committed to serving them as authentic mentors.  Each day begins with “Harambee!” a 30-minute activity to celebrate and affirm every participant’s value and prepare for the day’s work and learning ahead.  Throughout the summer children read high quality books and are engaged in learning activities that match their developmental needs and interests.  The program is free, giving parents access to quality child care, and children receive two nutritious meals and a healthy snack each day in the summer.  CDF Freedom Schools partner with public schools, community-based organizations, faith congregations, colleges and universities, cities, and juvenile detention centers to operate the program sites.  The scholars are encouraged to dream about college, set goals for themselves, and cultivate positive attitudes and high expectations.  The CDF Freedom Schools theme is “I Can Make a Difference in Myself, My Family, My Community, My Country, and My World, through Hope, Education, and Action.”

Who:  Children, college-age servant leader interns, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman, and Cincinnati partners and funders of the CDF Freedom Schools program, including: Duke Energy, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile/US Bank Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, KnowledgeWorks, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, P&G, and the WalMart Foundation; this funding collaborative was coordinated by KnowledgeWorks through its subsidiary The Strive Partnership. 

These generous funders have established four Freedom Schools for 200 Cincinnati children this summer sponsored and directed by Bethel Baptist Church, the Freedom Center, Whole Again International at Gray Road Church of Christ, and Whole Again International at Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship.  

The effort locally is part of a larger, regional Early Grade-Level Reading Campaign designed to boost 3rd grade reading success.  Third grade reading proficiency is a reliable predictor of future academic success.  A thoroughly evaluation will be conducted as part of this and other summer learning efforts. 

When: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Where:  Christ Emmanuel Christian Academy, 2324 May Street, Cincinnati, OH 45206


For More Information Contact:
Rev. Laura Young
Senior Organizer, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio