CDF asked children, college students and caregivers to “freedom dream” with us. At every site, our partners from the Ink Factory situated a big whiteboard with colorful sticky notes to visually capture what we heard.
About the Site
This summer, we redefined the role of expert to center the lived experiences of the children, youth, and caregivers we serve. In Georgia, we visited the CDF Freedom Schools® site at Emmaus House in Atlanta. We asked CDF Freedom Schools parents, caregivers, and Servant Leader Interns (SLIs) to share their experiences and challenges faced in their community and schools.
When asked what is happening in their community or the world that makes it hard to raise children, many shared their concerns on the judicial system, affordable childcare, drug use, gun violence, and the impact of social media. Key focus areas also included overall health and healing, family economic mobility, just and caring communities, early childhood development, and civic engagement.
CDF Freedom Schools community members also offered a response to the question we raised: What should we be doing to make change for the children? Community events, advocacy, listening, and mentorship in the community were identified as top issues.
CDF asked parents to help us identify issues most important to them.
“You tell me to talk about other people or kids or the community, I can talk about that forever. But when it comes to things that are actually affecting me, it’s always a little tough.”
“Since I’m a teacher, I was thinking about myself in the school setting…the rise of conservatism and taking voices away from us as teachers, that’s a part of the tension for me.”
“I’m a school social worker. So there’s a lot of issues that I see in the schools and the community ‘cause I work in Henry county schools, which is kinda more rural than the Atlanta area. So, there’s not a lot of resources, especially for kids who are at-risk or troubled youth…and it’s harder to find things that are in the area to help out their parents just because there’s not a lot of resources.”
“I feel like all college students are put under a lot of pressure because of our parents and our loved ones and everyone surrounding us sends us to college and they expect us to go through the motions and come out and be great and make six figure salaries…Some of us are first gen, like me, so that’s another pressure added on top of it… they don’t understand the pressure that they put on us, on top of society putting it on us, on top of our teachers putting it on us and just everything in our community around us, so it’s just a lot on everyone from a college standpoint.”
“I’m a grandma, and it takes a village to do this. We need our communities back like my grandmother’s community was for our children.”
“The kids; It seems like there’s a lot of influence on them, no matter what we teach. A lot of influence and things that were not really prevalent when I was their age.”
We asked our CDF Freedom Schools parents and Servant Leader Interns at Emmaus House what freedom looks like to them. Here are their responses.
Highlights from our Visit
Learn more about CDF’s site visits in these cities: