Freedom School


St. Luke’s commitment to being an open, inclusive, and anti-racist church is not just something we say- it’s something we do. That’s why we’re hosting and sponsoring our second annual Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School from June 20 through July 28, 2023.

CDF Freedom Schools© are summer programs designed to increase literacy, self-esteem, socio-emotional skills, and a love of learning for children in elementary school. We disrupt the summer learning slide by keeping scholars engaged and stimulated. CDF Freedom Schools© help children discover their potential and greatness, utilizing books and curricula that celebrate the cultures and contributions of people of color. We also employ young-adult teachers who serve as role models and mentors.

Make An Impact

We are already making plans for our second summer of Freedom School, especially targeting our own Washington Township elementary students. 2023 dates are June 20 - July 28. We have big plans to make this summer EVEN MORE impactful than last summer, and we need your help. Attend one of our call-out meetings to learn about important changes to this summer's program and find the best fit for your gifts and interests (this is also a great opportunity for financial supporters to learn more about our plans).

An Investment Worship Making

Statistics show that 81% of scholars who participate in Freedom School avoid summer learning loss. And our own 2022 experience showed only 1 scholar who lost any ground. In addition, according to CDF research, scholars across the country report that Freedom School helps them 

  • develop a growth mindset 
  • successfully regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors 
  • take the perspective of and empathize with others 
  • cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, an negotiate conflict constructively 
  • make constructive choices about personal behaviors and social interactions 

We hire quality student interns to teach and mentor scholars. We provide two hot meals plus a snack each day. And we strive to give scholars experiences and activities they wouldn't get elsewhere. This adds up to a cost of $125,000 for a 5-6 week program.  

  • $12 pays for one day's meals for one scholar or leader 
  • $300 pays for one scholar's or leader's meals for the summer 
  • $30,000 pays for all meals for the summer
  • $300 pays for books and supplies for one student
  • $3600 pays for books and supplies for one classroom
  • $2000 pays for one field trip
  • $7500 pays the stipend for the Site Coordinator
  • $5000 pays for one Student Leader Intern stipend
  • $5000 pays for 4 leaders to attend Freedom School training in Kentucky 

This is an investment worth making! 

Who are the Scholars and Families?

Scholars and families are identified by Washington Township's school social workers and other partnering agencies. The parents of scholars do pay for aftercare and excursions and attend at least 2 family workshops.

“Education is the precondition for a child to thrive. Yet, only 13 percent of Black fourth graders can read at grade level. That kind of man-made disaster is what CDF Freedom Schools have been created to prevent and eliminate. We believe a child who can read is a more confident and empowered child. Children who can’t read are sentenced to a social and economic death. With the help of a group of nationally recognized reading specialists, backed by an intensive training course for college servant leaders at CDF Haley Farm, the Children’s Defense Fund has devoted years toward developing CDF Freedom Schools around a strong and effective integrated reading curriculum”

-Marian Wright Edelman Founder and President Emerita

Founded by Civil Rights Lawyer, Educator, Advocate Marian Wright Edelman to answer the question how do we continue to dismantle the systems of injustice after the civil rights movement.

CDF Freedom Schools© is a national program of the Children’s Defense Fund, which operates hundreds of Freedom Schools around the United States.

  • Congregants serve as classroom and kitchen volunteers, family workshop facilitators, read aloud guests and field “trip” chaperones or sponsors
  • Host Freedom School Sunday to connect families or church and church to families
  • Opportunities for inter-departmental partnership
  • Deploying volunteers to Freedom School
  • Providing tangible opportunity for people to live out their commitment to antiracism and justice
  • Creating a two lane highway from Freedom School to children’s, youth, CCJ and outreach ministries next steps
  • 5 week, week day summer program from 8:00-3:30 p.m. June 20th-July 21st 
  • Invitation and scholarship to attend VBS for a 6th week of connection and care 
  • 80 scholars and 8 Servant Leader Interns 
  • Rising 1st - 6th grade students 
  • Daily “Harambe” and Read Aloud Guest 
  • Reading and classroom time 
  • Breakfast, morning snack, and lunch provided 
  • Afternoon activities to develop leadership, community service, and fun new experiences 
  • Weekly field trips and Parent Workshops 

You Belong Here

In community, at this church, serving others, in relationship with God, and by making an impact in the world!