After a two-year hiatus, UWGDA reconvened the Montgomery County Freedom Schools Collaborative! In partnership with three different organizations/institutions (Omega CDC, DECA Schools, and Grace United Methodist Church) we hosted five Freedom Schools sites and served 270 scholars this summer!
Our 2022 Freedom Schools journey kicked off with the national and local training sessions for the Student Leader Interns (SLIs) and the Site Coordinators. Typically, the national training would occur at Haley Farm in Tennessee, but due to Covid-19, the training was virtual. The Montgomery County Freedom Schools collaborative still wanted to gather all of the SLIs and site coordinators together to engage in the national and local training sessions. These trainings occurred at Grace United Methodist Church and presented participants with information about Harambe, the integrated reading curriculum, classroom de-escalation, child abuse and mandated reporting, CPR, and first aid.
First year SLI, Julian Fuqua, shared his Freedom Schools’ experience:
“As I reflect on my time at Freedom Schools, I am reminded fondly of my experience for a multitude of reasons. I had an opportunity to grow professionally and personally. It also gave me the ability to become a role model for the future leaders and scholars of this country. Being a positive role model is something I’ve always strived for. I hope that as much of an impact as these young scholars had on my life, I was able to do the same for them. I have grown to treasure the connections I have made and I will never forget the joy on the many faces when the scholars first saw me in the morning. I am beyond grateful that I was able to contribute to Freedom Schools through my position as a Student Leader Intern.”
One highlight of the 2022 Freedom Schools program was the site-wide National Day of Social Action event. This summer’s topic was climate change. All of the sites came together at the Hope Center and sang songs, shared data, posters, and information about the importance of protecting our planet! After the presentations given by each site, everyone formed one HUGE circle and engaged in one of the most electrifying and moving Harambee celebrations, I have ever experienced!
Many UWGDA staff members supported the Freedom Schools movement this summer. Whether it was through administrative support, signing up to be a read aloud guest at the sites, or attending certain events it was great to see the excitement that our staff displayed!
Overall, this summer’s Freedom Schools program was a huge success. We are now in the planning process for 2023, and I am looking forward to expanding and strengthening the Freedom Schools movement within Greater Dayton. Please be on the lookout for more information and ways in which you can support the movement.