Programs and Campaigns

Programs and Campaigns image of kids

CDF Freedom Schools® Program

The Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools™ program is modeled after the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964, a major political action program in which volunteers and community members worked together to secure basic democratic rights for Mississippi's Black citizens. Volunteers taught Black students during the summer with a curriculum that promoted equality, self discovery, social justice and community activism. That project inspired youth from around the country to become involved in their own communities. In New York, many Puerto Rican and other Latino youth became active in improving their communities on the Lower East Side, El Barrio and the South Bronx.

Freedom Schools™ are educational, recreational and cultural enrichment programs that provide a safe, fun and nurturing learning environment during the summer months.

The Freedom Schools™ program began in 1992 and currently operates in 130 sites around the country with college-age adults serving as role models and teachers to more than 9,000 children. Since 1995, over 65,000 children have had a CDF Freedom Schools experience and more than 6,000 college age students, 2,000 high school students and 1,100 adult coordinators have been trained to deliver this empowering model.