BCI Freedom School
The BCI Freedom School project, modeled after a program founded by the Children’s Defense Fund, is a six-week summer program designed to serve children in communities where quality summer academic enrichment programming is rare, cost-prohibitive or non-existent. The program launched the first Newark site in 2006 at Bethany Baptist Church. Bethany Cares, Inc. services 85 scholars between the ages of 5 and 11 years old with a safe academic summer experience that will instill in them the belief that they can make a difference (the Freedom School Theme) through a focus on literacy, cultural heritage and parental involvement.
Through the Summer Freedom School experience, Bethany Cares, Inc. also provides 16 high school students from the Greater Newark area and 15 undergraduate students with a quality internship opportunity for six weeks this summer. Bethany Cares, Inc. aims to expand each young person’s knowledge of literacy and of African American and Latino authors, playwrights, poets, etc. It is also our goal to develop young people academically and socially through the Integrated Reading Curriculum. The curriculum promotes reading enrichment, youth leadership development, cultural enrichment, parent empowerment, civic engagement, and social action.
The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School project is modeled after the "Mississippi Freedom Summer Project" of 1964. The 1964 Freedom Schools, with a curriculum that focused on literacy and humanities, were structured to motivate young people to become critically engaged in their communities and to help them identify and design authentic solutions to local problems. The Freedom Schools movement was reborn in 1993 under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman and the Children's Defense Fund's Black Community Crusade for Children.According to the end of the summer scholar assessment results over 70% of Freedom School students were academically prepared to enter the next grade level. The majority of returning scholars have shown improvement in at least two of the following five ways:
- Maintained or improved literacy levels
- Improved attendance in school
- Improved behavior in school
- Better engagement in school activities
- Ability to talk about a problem in their community and how they might try to solve it
A majority of parents attending indicates improvement in at least one of the following areas over the subsequent school year:
- Attended more parent meetings at their child’s school
- Volunteered in the child’s school
- Attended the majority of Freedom school parent meetings
Of the 25 high school and college/graduate students’ interns and teachers:
- All have exhibit knowledge of problem in the community and are able to express potential solutions and how to involve other in the solution.
- All have stayed on track to graduate and enter college or the world of work
- All have demonstrated tremendous leadership abilities
HOW TO ENROLL:
If you or someone you know is interested in enrolling their child(ren) in next Summer's Freedom School, download and submit an application today!
INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE (College and High School):
The Intern position is created to give a young person an opportunity to work with, encourage and inspire the Bethany Freedom School Scholars. Student Leader Interns are traditionally college students who will serve in primarily two roles: Floater and Teacher. Junior Interns are traditionally high school students who will serve primarily in the role of assistant teacher.
The application for Freedom School INTERNS is available for download here.