Peter Spencer Family Life Foundation

Freedom School

The CDF Freedom School is an exciting, diverse, and dynamic summer reading program that teaches not the mechanics of reading but the love of reading and the excitement of learning. PSFLF has had a CDF Freedom School in the Wilmington, DE community since 2013.
The inspiration for the Peter Spencer Family Life Foundation Children Defense Fund Freedom Schools started when Rev. Dr. Lawrence Livingston took a small group of Mother African Union Church members to the Children Defense Fund Child Advocacy Conference. Dr. Livingston saw that the CDF Freedom Schools model contained the spirit and culture of our Kwanzaa Camp, which PSFLF a summer program had been running for several years, but had the power of a dynamic framework and powerful reading curriculum. Following Dr. Livingston’s recommendation, PSFLF Board moved forward to have our first Freedom School in 2013, also the first Freedom Schools in Delaware.
The program, held in partnership with local congregations and community organizations, seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation, and the world. By providing high quality, culturally relevant curriculum rooted in the civil rights movement and enrichment activities for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the CDF Freedom Schools program helps curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps. The program is led by college student role models who share their enthusiasm for learning.
Freedom Schools boost student motivation to read, generate more positive attitudes toward learning, increase self-esteem and connect the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities. The instructional the reading level of the children tested in our 2021 summer program demonstrated an average increase of a year and six months. Most of the children (85.4%) maintained or gained in instructional reading level and did not experience summer learning loss.

The program is a servant-leadership incubator for the college students and recent graduates who are interested in serving and making a difference. Training, coordinated by the CDF Freedom Schools national office, prepares the young adults to provide an enriching experience for the children they serve. The Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute promotes principles of servant leadership by fostering an understanding of the connection between
effective programs and public policy, and the importance of community development, political advocacy, and coalition building. The strong ethic of service is evident across generations, as community leaders support these servant leaders while they teach and mentor the younger children.

Small Boats & Wide Seas

Ever wonder about the story behind CDF’s iconic logo? Learn about the famous prayer and illustration including its discovery, implementation, and evolution.