Top 5 Things to Know About our Freedom School Program

1. Why Freedom School?

There are many stellar summer curriculums to choose from, so why did Emmaus House choose Freedom School? The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program is a proven curriculum that has served more than 137,000 children nationwide since 1990.

High-quality summer programs provide critical enrichment that helps to increase a student's reading ability. In fact, children from low-income neighborhoods, like Peoplestown, lose two to three months of learning ability compared to their higher-income peers who tend to make slight gains. Freedom School helps our students increase their academic achievement with the goal of ultimately breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

2. What’s that word I see everywhere…Harambee?

Harambee (pronounced ha-rahm-bay) means “all pull together.” Each morning, our students gather to channel their energy for the day and to empower each other to reach their full potential. The students focus on one of the following principles each week: 

  • I can make a difference in myself;
  • I can make a difference in my family;
  • I can make a difference in my community;
  • I can make a difference in the country and;
  • I can make a difference in the world with hope, education, and action!

Harambee at Freedom School is known especially for the motivating and creative cheers that these principles inspire. We’re also known for our volume–it gets pretty loud!

3. Do kids read ALL day long for SIX WEEKS?!

Each day at Freedom School starts with breakfast. When Harambee is complete, students separate into their leveled reading classes to begin the morning lessons using the Integrated Reading Curriculum developed by the Children’s Defense Fund. D.E.A.R. Time (Drop Everything and Read) is 15 minutes that is dedicated to free reading before heading off to Lunch.

The afternoon activities are diverse and change each week. For students who need it, Barack and Michelle Obama Academy teachers are on hand to help with math. Emmaus House’s own Charlotte Cameron leads the art class. Students even visit our local YMCA for swim lessons. We reserve Friday afternoons for field trips, and so far our students have visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center as well as Noah’s Ark in Locust Grove, GA. Students are looking forward to the remaining Friday field trips, of course! 

4. What’s an SLI?

Servant Leader Interns (SLI) are college students who lead each class of students to succeed. Their one-week training takes place at the Children’s Defense Fund Haley Farm in Tennessee. They also train with Emmaus House staff for an additional week. This year, we have "Junior" SLIs who are high school students and community members. We support our strategic priority of leadership development through the training and employment of our SLIs.

We are truly blessed to partner with Barack and Michelle Obama Academy this summer. 

5. You can get Involved!

There are three weeks left of Freedom School, and we invite you to join in on the fun. 

We are 77% to our goal! With your help, we can surpass our goal of raising $10,000 for Freedom School by July 20. 

All donations made by July 20 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a generous donor.