Children's Defense Freedom School

The Children's Defense Freedom School offers summer programming for young people whose lives have been interrupted and impacted by crises by providing consistent, daily services to better understand themselves, their situations, each other, and their potential, and serves families dealing with complex change following crises with affordable quality childcare.

The CDF Freedom Schools program  provides summer and after-school enrichment through a model 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.


In partnership with Division of Indian Work and other community based organizations, faith institutions, schools, colleges and universities, the CDF Freedom Schools program boosts student motivation to read, generates more positive attitudes toward learning, and connects the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities.



The CDF Freedom Schools model incorporates the totality of CDF’s mission by fostering environments that support children and young adults to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in their families, schools, communities, country, and world. College students and recent graduates are trained as servant leader interns to deliver the Integrated Reading Curriculum (IRC); young adults are trained as site coordinators and project directors to provide supervision and administrative oversight.

CDF Freedom Schools program sites are safe and restorative learning spaces where:

  • Children are surrounded by caring adults from their community

  • Children read high quality books and are engaged in learning activities

  • Each day begins with “Harambee,” a 30-minute self-and-group affirming  for the work ahead

  • Children receive two nutritious meals and a healthy snack every day 

  • Parents are engaged as site volunteers and participate in weekly workshops

  • Children are supported to dream, set goals for themselves, and cultivate positive attitudes


For more information about Freedom School, contact us here.