As summer winds down and students start heading back to school, I want to remember the Freedom Schools in New York City this summer that were full of fun, fellowship and freedom! From Red Hook all the way to the Bronx, Freedom Schools served over 400 young people ages 5 to 18 years old. Here are a few highlights from our CDF Freedom School New York sites:
Red Hook Initiative
The Red Hook Initiative CDF Freedom School has been operating for 2 years. They served scholars from ages 12 to 18 this year in a historical industrial area of Brooklyn known as Red Hook. The site served 50 scholars and used this summer to provide hands on work and volunteer experiences as well as prepare the young people for school through afternoon workshops. They wrapped up their Freedom School summer on Friday, August 16th with a community fair and barbeque.
The Riverside Church
The Riverside Church CDF Freedom School rests at the top of Manhattan in Harlem at the historical Riverside Church. They served 60 young people this summer and have been operating for 5 years. This year for National Day of Social Action, the scholars marched to Columbia University where they were able to spread awareness about protecting children not guns and dismantling violence. They were highlighted on the CDF’s National website. They wrapped up their Freedom School summer with a graduation showcase.
St. Ann’s Church
St. Ann’s Church CDF Freedom School has been in existence for close to 20 years and is the longest running Freedom School in New York. They are located in the Bronx and this year they served over 200 scholars. This year they used junior servant leaders to teach in the classrooms to promote intergenerational leadership and inspire them to be Servant Leader Interns in the future. They wrapped up their Freedom School summer with a community party and showcase.
Partnership with Children
Partnership with Children (PWC) , a community based organization that serves the New York public schools came back strong again for their 2nd year as a Freedom School. They served 150 scholars at 3 sites throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. They served the Fort Greene and Brownsville area of Brooklyn and Harlem in Manhattan. Some highlights include the Brooklyn sites marching to Borough Hall on the National Day of Social Action that took place on July 17th. They greeted people with cheers, chants, singing and awareness about protecting children and not guns. PWC completed their Freedom School summer on Friday August 9th with showcases at the Freedom School sites.
Administration for Children Services
This summer, we were proud to be serving in Juvenile Detention centers in Brooklyn at Crossroads JDC and at Horizon JDC in the Bronx. Crossroads has been serving youth for 3 years with the Freedom School model and this year Horizon joined the Freedom Schools movement. Together, both facilities served close to 100 young people ranging from ages 16 to 19. The young people earn high school credit while in the centers with the help of the CDF Freedom Schools program. They wrapped up their Freedom School summer hosting carnivals at the JDC facilities on Friday August 16th. You can watch their story here.