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New Freedom School comes to Winston-Salem

Photo by Tevin Stinson- Students at the Anna Julia Cooper Center Freedom School prepare for another day of excitement at the summer program designed to make reading and learning fun.

New Freedom School comes to Winston-Salem
July 13
05:00 2017

Students from elementary schools across the county are getting a taste of the college life this summer thanks to Wake Forest University (WFU) Anna Julia Cooper Center, several local organizations and a partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools.

CDF Freedom Schools is a summer program that seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families and communities. Freedom Schools plays a major role in helping students curb summer learning and close achievement gaps. CDF Freedom Schools have been helping students in need since 1995.

Danielle Parker-Moore, director of the Freedom School at Wake Forest, said along with helping students improve their reading skills, the program also helps build confidence.

Freedom School began on Monday, June 26, and will end on Friday, Aug. 4. The program serves students in grades three through five. The program’s model curriculum supports children and families around five essential components: high-quality academic enrichment, parent and family involvement, social action and civic engagement, intergenerational servant leadership development and nutrition, health and mental health.

Parker-Moore said, after breaking the ice with the students the first few days, now students are coming in ready to learn.

“You can see the excitement on their faces when they walk in the door. They’re excited about reading, and I feel confident that excitement will carry over into the school year,” she said. “A lot of these students have never been on a college campus before, so that’s very important as well. It gives them a chance to experience what college is like and hopefully that will inspire them to work toward making it back in the future.”

Each morning students and instructors, college students from WFU, Salem College and Winston-Salem State University, shake off the morning rust by participating in a Kenyan tradition called “harambee,” which means “all pull together” in Swahili. During harambee, students get to share interesting facts about themselves and classmates, sing popular songs infused with motivational chants, and practice the latest dance moves.

After the morning welcome, students split into groups, and a day filled with learning, fun, and excitement begins.

Throughout the six-week program, special guests are expected to stop by and read to students.

Some of the local and national leaders expected to make special appearances at the Anna Julia Cooper Center Freedom School are: WFU Provost Rogan Kersh, Winston-Salem Urban League CEO James Perry, N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.

After showing off her dance moves during harambe on Monday, July 3, Harmony Perez, a student at Moore Magnet School, said she has enjoyed many of the books she has read since starting the program. Although her favorite subject is math, Harmony said she is now more excited about reading.

“Math is still my favorite subject, but I enjoy reading, too.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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