Happy First Day of Freedom School!
Freedom School launched its 15 th summer today (Monday, June 18), helping young scholars fight summer learning loss and embrace the belief that with hope and education, nothing can stop them. No wonder shouts of “Hallelujah” resounded at sites across the Charlotte area.

From its start with 100 scholars at one location, Freedom School this summer welcomes 1,100 children and youth to 17 sites. Two new sites are Martin Luther King Junior Middle School and Renaissance West Steam Academy. At each one, children and youth, led by devoted interns (teachers) and volunteers, focus on reading and character-building, with field trips, swimming and fun activities mixed in. All of it seeks to reverse a troubling trend: By the end of third grade, lower-income kids typically are two years behind in reading, due largely to summer learning loss.

Opening Day included the usual transportation glitches and finding the right classroom. But quickly, that Freedom School energy began to bubble as a summer of changing young lives kicked off.
At Shalom Park, the site supported by the Jewish community’s various institutions, scholars entered to the rhythm of a banging drum and interns shouting “Good morning” and “Buenos Dias.” Inside, they chowed down on Fruit Loops, a breakfast served amid the buzz of anticipation. Asked what he loves about Freedom School, nine-year-old Jafet answered a question with a question. “Can you get seconds?” The answer, of course, was “Yes!”

At Christ Lutheran Church, the day started with Freedom School’s signature Harambee (“Let's pull together” in Swahili), the rally and reading time that blows the roof off the place. “How you feelin’ Freedom School?” the scholars were asked, answering as one: “Terrific!” Church Director of Outreach Amy Daniels read “The Girls Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can.” The book’s subtitle captures the Freedom School message: “The true story of a little girl who made an impossible dream achievable.” The words to the Freedom School anthem are displayed on classroom walls, even if the returning scholars know it by heart: “Something Inside So Strong…”

At Sedgefield Middle School, the site sponsored by Myers Park United Methodist Church, scholars in Grades 3-5 took the long way around to find their classroom (this is a big school!). Once seated, they answered as one – “FIELD TRIPS!” – when asked what they loved most about Freedom School. But amid the chorus of responses, one scholar’s answer resonated on Opening Day 2018: “When you do something at Freedom School, it makes you stronger.”

Freedom school welcomes your gift of time, prayers, supplies and financial support. A treat: Reading aloud to students during Harambee. To help, visit www.freedomschoolpartners.org or call (704) 371-4922.
Freedom School Partners, Inc.
Phone: 704-371-4922 | Fax: 704-348-9058 | www.freedomschoolpartners.org