The Wake Forest University Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School is a free six-week, literacy-based summer program for rising third through fifth-grade students. Through a culturally diverse curriculum, Freedom School encourages a love of reading and learning. With a theme of “I Can Make A Difference,” the Integrated Reading Curriculum affirms scholars with engaging literature and exposure to the broader community.

In classrooms of 10-12, college-aged students are hired to teach and mentor Freedom School scholars. Additionally, during the six-week instruction, parents of scholars are encouraged to be engaged in their child’s learning through informational meetings in the summer and multiple volunteer opportunities.

Spots for the annual summer program fill quickly. If you are interested in enrolling your child in the Freedom School at Wake Forest for subsequent years, please add your name to the waitlist.

Wake Forest University Freedom School is hosted by the Department of Education and is made possible with the help of collaborators including The Office of Civic & Community Engagement, Office of the President, and Office of the Provost

About Freedom School

  • What is Freedom School?

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

    Rooted in the Mississippi Freedom Summer project of 1964, the CDF Freedom Schools program has historically and continues to be apart of the Black Community Crusade for Children®. 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 nonexistent. By partnering with schools, faith and community-based organizations, municipalities, colleges and universities, and juvenile detention facilities, CDF Freedom Schools are able to offer the program in those communities at no cost.

    CDF Freedom School believes in an intergenerational leadership model. That’s why the 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.

  • What is the Freedom School program?

    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:

    • High-quality academic enrichment
    • Parent and family development
    • Civic engagement and social action
    • Intergenerational servant leadership development
    • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions