Freedom School and St. John’s Baptist Church

Many of you who have been at SJBC for a long time might remember that during the 90’s we ran a summer program for children in fragile economic circumstances through our United Baptist Association. It ran for six weeks in whatever facility we could find, with each church in the association hosting a week. Over the years, we had fewer and fewer churches willing to host their week and much of the burden of this program fell to SJBC. In the early 2000’s, we began, instead, to partner with an existing program called Freedom School. Freedom School Partners is a 501(c)(3) that provides quality summer programming for students in grades K-8 at 16 locations across Charlotte ( ). Families can register their children for a local chapter of Freedom School, and their children will be provided six weeks of programming which includes:

  • Two daily meals and a snack
  • Daily literacy training, instruction and support
  • Community building for children and parents
  • Enrichment through field trips and recreational opportunities
  • Daily contact with well-trained college students and adults who care for them
  • Daily exposure to readers from everywhere in the communityLike the Head Start Program (which is housed here during the school year), Freedom School is a wildly successful program. In 2015, Freedom School reported the following results:

    On average from 2010 through 2013, 56% of scholars improved their reading ability and 33% maintained their reading ability (this is compared to most low-income children who lose 2-3 months of reading ability in the summer months). ( ).

    In work that seeks to impact poverty through education, community and support, Freedom School and Head Start rank exceptionally high as successful programs through which to do so.

     Many times, the realities of poverty look too deep to struggle against, and many of us separate ourselves from those realities. This summer is your chance to jump in. One day—2 hours—gets you access to some of the happiest little people you’ll ever encounter in a well-run program right here in our building. We claim to be follows of Jesus, who called us to hang out with “the least of these my brethren.” Our brethren will be at Freedom School, every day, from 8:30-2:30, from June 16th-July 28th, right here in our building. Do not miss your chance to be part of this great work!

    Stay tuned next week to read about how St. John’s has partnered with Freedom School!