The Indianapolis Freedoms School Partnership expands the impact and legacy of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools program to dismantle patterns of socio-economic deprivation, empower communities by promoting literacy, foster civic engagement, and develop our future leaders.
Proudly rooted in the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, and the efforts of college students to make a difference, the CDF Freedom Schools program was born. CDF trains college-aged young people—called servant leaders interns—who provide quality summer and after-school enrichment through a model Integrated Reading 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 supports. IFSP partners with public schools, community organizations, faith congregations, colleges and universities, and juvenile justice facilities who sponsor and host local CDF Freedom Schools sites in our community and at their facility. More than 150,000 children—scholars we call them—have had a CDF Freedom Schools experience since 1995 and 17,000 college teacher-mentors have been trained to serve them.