Freedom School

CDF Freedom Schools© are summer programs designed to increase literacy, self-esteem, socio-emotional skills, and a love of learning for children in elementary school. We disrupt the summer learning slide by keeping scholars engaged and stimulated. CDF Freedom Schools© help children discover their potential and greatness, utilizing books and curricula that celebrate the cultures and contributions of people of color. We also employ young-adult teachers who serve as role models and mentors.

Make An Impact

We are embarking on our 3rd year of being a host site for CDF Freedom Schools®, especially targeting our own Washington Township students. 2024 dates are June 17 - July 26. You have the power to make a positive impact with our scholars this summer.

Sign-Up to Volunteer!

Freedom_School_Indy_Church3.jpgStatistics show that 81% of scholars who participate in Freedom School avoid summer learning loss. In 2023, over half of scholars who participated in pre and post-testing improved their reading skills! In addition, according to CDF research, scholars across the country report that Freedom School helps them:

  • develop a growth mindset 
  • successfully regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors 
  • take the perspective of and empathize with others 
  • cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, an negotiate conflict constructively 
  • make constructive choices about personal behaviors and social interactions 

We hire quality student interns to teach and mentor scholars. We provide two hot meals plus a snack each day. And we strive to give scholars experiences and activities they wouldn't get elsewhere. This adds up to a cost of $125,000 for a 5-6 week program.  

Amount Invested Return on Investment
$12 Pays for one day's meals for one scholar or leader
$300 Pays for one scholar's or leader's meals for the summer
$30,000 Pays for all meals for the summer
$300 Pays for books and supplies for one student
$3600 Pays for books and supplies for one classroom
$2000 Pays for one field trip
$7500 Pays the stipend for the Site Coordinator
$5000 Pays for one Student Leader Intern stipend
$5000 Pays for 4 leaders to attend Freedom School training in Kentucky

This is an investment worth making! 

Invest in Scholars Here

“Education is the precondition for a child to thrive. Yet, only 13 percent of Black fourth graders can read at grade level. That kind of man-made disaster is what CDF Freedom Schools have been created to prevent and eliminate. We believe a child who can read is a more confident and empowered child. Children who can’t read are sentenced to a social and economic death. With the help of a group of nationally recognized reading specialists, backed by an intensive training course for college servant leaders at CDF Haley Farm, the Children’s Defense Fund has devoted years toward developing CDF Freedom Schools around a strong and effective integrated reading curriculum”

-Marian Wright Edelman Founder and President Emerita

Volunteer Information Center

Take a look at some of the ways you can serve this summer:

Supports Servant Leader Interns (SLI). Engage in the morning activities that supports the Integrated Reading Curriculum. Multicultural and inclusive books and complimentary activities will be used to increase confidence in reading and verbal expression at all levels.

Sign-Up to Volunteer!

Engage with scholars as they take part in arts and culturally enriched activities that are related to the themes from the IRC. Field trips and social action projects will be included on certain days.

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Kitchen workers will assist with food preparation, meal serving, dishwashing and clean-up. An afternoon shift will also help prep for the next day's meals.

Sign-Up to Volunteer!

Hospitality volunteers will assist with volunteer and student check in, parent drop off and pick up.

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Volunteers will assist with scholar activities during parent enrichment meetings

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Scholars & Families Information Center

Freedom School Dates | June 17 – July 26 (no school June 19 & July 4)

School Day | 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Location | St. Luke’s United Methodist Church | 100 W 86th Street | 317-846-3404 

Transportation | Washington Township bus transportation provided for families who attend Nora, Spring Mill, Willow Lake, Greenbriar, and Fox Hill Elementary Schools 

Freedom School Parents Social | June 16

Freedom School Sunday | July 21 

Family Finale Celebration | July 24

Questions? Contact Seema Mernitz |

You Belong Here

In community, at this church, serving others, in relationship with God, and by making an impact in the world!