The Children Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School at Claflin University will present a stage adaptation of the Disney's
animated musical fantasy film, Aladdin on
Thursday July 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Auditorium. Admission is free and the public is invited.
The CDF Freedom School, which will close out its seventh year at Claflin, admits youth ages
8-14 in the third through eighth grades. The 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 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.
"We had 73 students from elementary and middle schools all across Orangeburg County,"
said Nathan Chaplin, project director for Claflin's CDF Freedom School program.
"We hosted the annual Children's Defense Fund Social Action Day last week that centered on voter education and awareness. The national office selected this topic in preparation for the mid-term elections that will take place in November."
The Freedom School staff and instructors educated the students on issues such as children's health, education, youth justice, poverty, and gun violence. Participants were given an opportunity to select the top three issues that were of importance to them and their communities. Their ballot selections were entered into the Children's Defense Fund's electronic voting system.
"The results will help CDF officials determine how to effectively advocate for the health and welfare of children across America," said Chaplin. "This aligns with the CDF's mission to Leave No Child Behind® to ensure every child receives a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. The Children's Defense Fund provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves."
Last summer 97 percent of the students participating in the program read on grade level or increased their reading level based on pre-test and post-test results.
There are 278 sites throughout the nation that host CDF Freedom Schools. Claflin is one of 40 programs selected earlier this year to participate in the CDF 2018 Summer National Testing Program. "We are extremely proud of these young scholars and our dedicated staff," said Chaplin. "Our engaging curriculum and family atmosphere are largely responsible for their success. The staff uses innovative teaching techniques that inspire creativity and the parents really reinforce at home what we are doing in our classes."