CDF Freedom Schools® Program

The CDF Freedom Schools® program is a research based and multicultural summer enrichment opportunity that helps children and youth fall in love with reading, boost self-esteem, and generate more positive attitudes toward learning. We partner with families, caring community leaders, and credible organizations throughout California to create a safe nurturing learning environment that encourages children and teens to believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in their families, schools, communities, country, and world with hope, education and action. Since 1995, more than 137,000 preK-12 children have had a CDF Freedom Schools experience and more than 16,000 college students and young adult staff have been trained by CDF to deliver this empowering model. In summer 2015, CDF Freedom Schools sponsor partners served over 12,375 children at 189 program sites in 96 cities and 29 states including Washington, D.C.

About the Program

CDF Freedom Schools sites use a research-based and multicultural curriculum that centers on 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. Our instructional approach has been recognized as a model strategy to effectively engage children and young adults around literature and reading.

Making a Difference

The CDF Freedom Schools “I Can Make a Difference” theme lets children know that they are not citizens in waiting but agents of change. Children are empowered to serve and make a difference in themselves, their families, schools, and communities with education and action. We train college students and recent graduates as Servant Leader Interns to deliver the Integrated Reading Curriculum, a dynamic educational methodology that aligns with the Common Core State State Standards and and includes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM education) activities.

Making an Impact

Research has shown that the CDF Freedom Schools program is making an impact in the lives of children and families across the country. In 2012, a four-year study of children enrolled at Charlotte CDF Freedom Schools sites conducted by the University of North Carolina, Charlotte found that over 90 percent of participating children showed no summer learning loss, and 63 percent showed gains in reading. In 2011, the Harvard Family Research Project released a report called “Year-Round Learning: Linking School, Afterschool, and Summer Learning to Support Student Success.” The CDF Freedom Schools program was one of the 14 innovative national programs highlighted in the report as having “demonstrated success in providing quality learning opportunities for youth.” In 2004, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning honored the program with the nation’s first Excellence in Summer Learning Award.

Making History

The CDF Freedom Schools program is rooted in the Civil Rights Movement, the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, and the courageous efforts of college age youth to make a difference. The program was reborn in 1992 under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund as an intergenerational effort to reweave the fabric of families and communities and create a new generation of servant leaders to prepare children for school and for life.

Read more about the CDF Freedom Schools program

Enroll Your Child

This summer, we will be hosting CDF Freedom Schools sites in cities all across California. If you are interested in enrolling your child, contact a sponsor organization from the list below.

First New Christian Fellowship Community Development Corporation

Washington Prep High School
10860 S. Denker Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90047
Contact: Melanie Kimes
Phone: 323.750.9087/ 323.240.4137

First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church
1556 West 108th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90047
Contact: Loretta Ryals-Johnson
Phone: 323.756.2542/ 323.842.7990

Lincoln Child Center

West Oakland Middle School
991 14th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Contact: Brooklyn Williams
Phone: 510.928.4656

Frick Middle School
2845 64th Street
Oakland, CA 94605
Contact: Brooklyn Williams
Phone: 510.928.4656

Camp Wilmont Sweeney
2600 Fairmont Dr
San Leandro, CA 94578
Contact: Marrika Lopes
Phone: 510.867.5265

Los Angeles County Office of Education

Afflerbaugh-Paige School
6621 Stephens Ranch Road
La Verne, CA 91750
Contact: Ebony Nichols
Phone: 310.404.6519

Kenyon Scudder Camp School
28750 Bouquet Canyon Rd
Santa Clarita, CA 91390
Contact: Ebony Nichols
Phone: 310.404.6520

Joseph Scott Camp School
28700 N. Bouquet Canyon Road
Saugus, CA 91390
Contact: Ebony Nichols
Phone: 310.404.6521

Read Lead

Fremont High School
7676 S San Pedro St
Los Angeles, CA 90003
Contact: JC Lugo
Phone: 562.612.6361

Holman United Methodist Church
3320 W. Adams
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Contact: Cassandra Chase
Phone: 310.893.0899

Helen Keller Elementary School
35121 Palm Avenue
Lynwood, CA 90262
Contact: Cassandra Chase
Phone: 310.893.0899

Girls Club Los Angeles
2057 W. Century
Los Angeles, CA 90047
Contact: Cassandra Chase
Phone: 310.893.0899

Roberts Family Development Center

Robla Elementary School
5200 Marysville Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95838
Contact: Anjelica Syas
Phone: 916.621.7555

Laetaata Floyd Elementary School
104 McClatchy Way
Sacramento, CA 95811
Contact: Ray Green
Phone: 209.818.1371

Cesar Chavez Elementary School
7500 32nd St.
Sacramento, CA 95822
Contact: Tanya Archie
Phone: 916.807.9615

Martin Luther King Jr Technology Academy
3051 Fairfield St
Sacramento, CA 95815
Contact: Yantice Brown
Phone: 916.704.5096

Foothill Ranch Middle School
5001 Diablo Dr
Sacramento, CA 95842
Contact: Kameron Edwards
Phone: 650.995.0300

Woodlake Elementary School
700 Southgate Rd
Sacramento, CA 95815
Contact: Gregg Grimes
Phone: 916.628.2966

Stephen S. Wise Temple

Milken Community Middle School
15900 Mulholland Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Contact: Jennifer Smith
Phone: 818.522.4498/ 310.889.2265

American Jewish University
15600 Mulholland Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90077
Contact: Jennifer Smith
Phone: 818.522.4498/ 310.889.2265

Stephen S. Wise Temple
15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90077
Contact: Jennifer Smith
Phone: 818.522.4498/ 310.889.2265

Focus on Family Foundation

Phoenix Park Resident Activity Center
4400 Shining Star Dr
Sacramento, CA 95823
Contact: Kitty Griffin
Phone: 916.807.6850

Pasadena unified School District

Altadena Elementary School
743 E. Calaveras St.
Altadena, CA 91001
Contact: Nicole Stephens
Phone: 626.396.3600, ext 88478