Freedom Schools

Serving over 30050 children and youth in Los Angeles each summer, the Read Lead Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools are part of a network of community-based partners and school districts across the nation that provide summer and after-school learning enrichment for children in underserved communities.

For six weeks beginning in late June, Read Lead’s CDF Freedom Schools provide free and innovative classroom programs that help children fall in love with reading. With small classrooms and a 10-to-1 student/teacher ratio, we aim to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps, ensuring a level playing field for all children. We actively involve parents, encouraging them to identify and connect meaningfully with what their children are learning. Our Read Lead CDFFreedom Schools are led by college students or recent college graduates who are from the communities they serve. These servant leaders seek to build strong, literate, and empowered children scholars; to increase their love of reading; and introduce activities, like computer science and S.T.E.M. programming, not provided by the traditional school system. Read Lead scholarsstudents read over 80 books that are developmentally appropriate, reflect children’s own images, relate their authentic history, culture, and heritage, introduce figures who make a difference in the lives of others, offer encouragement to become involved in community service, explore fundamental issues related to self-esteem, and expand their capacity to dream and to believe they can make their dreams reality.


Leading Locally: Read Lead CDF Freedom Schools

Our Freedom Schools are located at:

  • Helen Keller Elementary School, Lynwood, CA
  • Holman United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, CA
  • L.A. Academy Fremont High School, Los Angeles, CA (this program is focused on serving boys of color)
  • City of Compton, CA
  • Girls Club LA
  • Seattle

Work with Read Lead Freedom Schools!

During the months of July and August, Read LEAD CDF Freedom Schools program provides a FREE summer school for 350 children and youth aged 3 to 13 in the communities of Lynwood, Carson, Compton, Los Angeles (West Adams), California and Seattle, Washington.
We offer two types of paid positions for young adults to work in our Freedom Schools: site coordinators and servant leader interns. Applications for these positions are accepted from December through March each year.

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