Freedom School Partners Print
Written by Jenny Harbin   


The summer is long and it is hot. During school I had a lot to do, but during the summer the adults are at work. Cousins come to watch us during the day but we don’t have a TV, and we can’t go anywhere. Some days we are hungry, especially right before momma gets paid. She says it really stretches our money when there is no school.

My friend is attending a summer program at the school in our neighborhood. She told me she starts the day everyday with “Harambee” (Harambee is Kiswahili for “Let’s Pull Together.”) when they sing and dance. She is having a great time. She comes home with new books and I am so lucky because she shares them with me.

I’ve begged my mom to sign me up for next summer. Momma called and I am on a waiting list and I pray every night that next year I can go.



Freedom School Partners


Freedom School PartnersSummer brings sweet sentiments to many. Many of us don’t consider that our neighbors living at an economic disadvantage may not share them.

The summer leaves a large gap for them. School provides consistent meals, consistent activity and consistent learning.

During the summer school age children can lose 2 to 3 months reading ability. For the 1,000 scholars participating in this summer’s Freedom School Program, 90% will stop that loss and 60% will gain in their reading ability.

Freedom School Partners was created to equalize the achievement gap for children who come from an economic disadvantage. The achievement gap begins for many children when they start school behind their peers who have been to preschool and exposed to more language and activity at home. It snowballs during the summer when there is learning loss and grows until every year they fall farther behind their classmates.

Freedom School Partners is committed to combat the achievement gap. This is done with after school and summer learning for children who cannot afford camp, vacation or after school activities that many children take for granted.

The three keys to Freedom Schools Partners engagement:

  1. Reading: Providing good books for the children to help them grow their love learning. Everyday begins with a story read by an adult in the community.
  2. College Interns: The college students bring high energy as counselors and become role models for the scholars. Many children may not know anyone who has attended college. These college interns become passionate future teacher and advocates for children in need.
  3. Educate: Summer learning that compliments what they have learned in school. Less focus on mechanics and more focus on fostering a love and desire for learning.

Since it’s creation in 1995 over 90,000 scholars across the nation have participated in the Freedom School Partners summer. This year in Charlotte/Mecklenburg 1,000 scholars are in the program. The program emphasizes that “they can do anything.”

How Can I Help?


There is still a few weeks left to be a reader at Harambee* (Until 8/12) at one of the 15 summer program locations in Charlotte. Missed the summer program? Harambee volunteersFreedom School Partners are needed each Wednesday all year at the three afterschool sites.

Afterschool Volunteer Opportunities:

Harambee Reader: Read to scholars during Harambee, each Wednesday afternoon at three locations during the school year.

Tutor and Classroom Assistant:  Assist the afterschool teachers as needed, with homework, reading, playground and snack time.

Office Support: General administrative assistance in the FSP's office.  Hours and days are flexible; Monday through Friday between 9 am - 5:30 pm

Parent Meetings: Help serve food, watch young children, and clean up during our monthly evening parent meetings.

Shoppers: Shop for snacks and supplies.


Freedom School Partners

It costs approximately $1,200 per child to attend a Freedom Schools program.

Help us bridge the achievement gap with quality after-school and summer programs for those in need. Your donations are necessary to continue our work. We serve inner-city children in grades K-8 at high risk of school failure.