The following is a letter written to Children’s Defense Fund supporters by Keely Norris, Ed.S, educator and CDF Freedom Schools® Ella Baker Trainer alumna:
The CDF Freedom Schools® program should be in every community, every summer. I have been a member of the CDF Freedom Schools movement for 7 years, helping to direct sites in my community and training young people to deliver our model in sites across the country. The number one thing I can say about our program is that it makes me feel hopeful.
I feel hopeful because the CDF Freedom Schools program is showing children across the country, we call them “scholars,” that we can all take action and make a difference in our communities. I feel hopeful because the engaging activities and meaningful discussions remind our children (and me) how fun and powerful reading can be. I feel hopeful because I see children and young people leaving after their CDF Freedom Schools summers with so much more-self confidence—as readers, and also as members of their communities.
As a former CDF Freedom Schools Site Director, I’ve had the chance to see the data from surveys that we administer before and after the summer, and one of the most encouraging points is how much better scholars feel about themselves when they finish with CDF Freedom Schools. And as a classroom teacher for 6 years, I know how much that matters. When you see how much hope children have in themselves, it’s impossible not to feel hopeful, too.
Learn more about our movement and see for yourself why people like me get involved and stay involved. If you want to see change, if you want to make a difference, the best way you could do that is to invest in the CDF Freedom Schools program today.
We could all use something to be hopeful about this year, and the scholars I have the pleasure to know through the CDF Freedom Schools program give me that every day.
Keely Norris and a CDF Freedom Schools scholar enjoying a good book