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 Missouri, we visited the CDF Freedom Schools® site at Christ the King United Church of Christ in St. Louis. 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 lack of resources, systemic oppression, gang activity, 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? Listening, advocacy, parent involvement, and mentorship in the community were identified as top issues.
CDF asked parents to help us identify issues most important to them.
“There is a stigma in the Black community that if you go to therapy, you are weak. This needs to be broken, but it can’t be broken unless people take their kids and be like ‘You know what, you need to talk, I’m here for you,’ or, ‘you need to go see somebody? It’s okay, you’re okay to do this.’”
“I just don’t understand how someone can have such a corrupted mind to be able to not see all children as humans, because they are humans. They’re not always looked at as people because they’re so small and their brains are not developed fully…but they have more complex thinking than most adults in this world.”
We asked our CDF Freedom Schools parents and Servant Leader Interns at Christ the King United Church of Christ what freedom looks like to them. Here are their responses.
Highlights from our Visit
Learn more about CDF’s site visits in these cities: