CDF-CA Freedom Schools

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CDF-CA Freedom Schools2020-10-07T12:28:00-07:00

Reading is the key to unlocking a child’s unlimited potential.

The CDF Freedom Schools® Model

Through the CDF Freedom Schools model, we empower youth to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, country and world with hope, education and action.

Rooted in the Mississippi Freedom Summer project of 1964, the CDF Freedom Schools program is a six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program designed to serve children and youth in grades K–12 in communities where quality academic enrichment programming is limited, too expensive, or non-existent. By partnering with schools, faith and community-based organizations, municipalities, colleges and universities, and juvenile detention facilities, we are able to offer this program in these communities at no-cost.

The CDF Freedom Schools program enhances children’s motivation to read and makes them feel good about learning. At the same time, the program connects families to the right resources in their communities. Freedom School students engage in a research-based, multicultural Integrated Reading Curriculum that supports them and their families through five essential components:

  1. High quality academic enrichment
  2. Parent and family development
  3. Civic engagement and social action
  4. Intergenerational servant leadership development
  5. Nutrition, health and mental health

Students also receive two nutritious meals and a snack daily, as well as a book each week to build their home libraries.

We believe in an intergenerational leadership model. That’s why our program is staffed primarily by college students and recent college graduates, with a 10:1 child to adult ratio. As a result, many children and youth make significant gains in reading achievement and don’t experience any summer learning loss.

California CDF Freedom School Sites 2019

Community Coalition
Alma Isidoro
Los Angeles, California 90044
(323) 806-9347

LA County Office of Education (LACOE)
Ebony Nichols
(310) 404-6520

Operation Secret Smile – Perris 5th Street SDA Church
Stacey Forde
Perris, California 92570
(951) 212-8518,

Open Door United Methodist Church
Tiara Phalon
Richmond, California 94805
(510) 992-3586

Lincoln Families
Ocie Parks
Oakland, California 94607
(510) 407-0676

PasadenaLEARNs After School Program
Courtney Linsey
Pasadena, California 91109
(909) 973-4616

Third Baptist Church of San Francisco
Whitney White
San Francisco, California 94103

Roberts Family Development Center
Elliot Davis
Sacramento, California 95815
(916) 646-6631

Success in Challenges, Inc.
Vicki Olivares
Long Beach, California 90807
(323) 448-7590

Bayside MLK Junior Academy – The Hannah Project
Phillip Logan
Sausalito, California 94965
(415) 887-9740

Our program is proudly rooted in the American Civil Rights Movement and the courageous efforts of college-age youth to make a difference.

Our Impact Nationally

Since 1995, more than 150,000 children (K–12) have had the CDF Freedom Schools® experience, and more than 17,000 young adults and child advocates have been trained on the delivery of the CDF Freedom Schools model, which has expanded to 182 program sites nation-wide.

2017 Data: Children Served by State

2017 Data: Children Served by Race/Ethnicity

The CDF Freedom Schools® program has made a statistically-significant and practically-significant positive impact on students in several ways. In 2017, almost all students either improved (56.2 percent) or maintained (27.8 percent) their reading skills over the course of the six-week program, and avoided the two-month summer learning loss suffered by children not participating in summer enrichment. Students reading below grade level at the beginning of the summer experienced the greatest gains.

Through the CDF Freedom Schools® program in 2017:

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