The CDF Freedom Schools® program seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world today. By providing summer and after-school reading enrichment for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the CDF Freedom Schools program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps — and is a key part of CDF’s work to ensure a level playing field for all children.

In partnership with local congregations, schools, colleges and universities, and community organizations, the CDF Freedom Schools® program boosts student motivation to read, generates more positive attitudes toward learning, increases self-esteem and connects the needs of Ohio’s children and families to the resources of their communities. Between 2011 and 2016, thirty-six sponsor organizations staffed by passionate servant leader interns have served 6,633 children at 56 CDF Freedom Schools summer program sites in Ohio.

Rockin’ Cool Freedom School has been serving the needs of scholars for five years. In 2018 we operating schools in Johnstown, Alexandria and Newark through the support of congregations at Alexandria UMC, Appleton UMC, Neal Avenue UMC, Pataskala UMC and Chatham Charge UMC churches, as well as by Denison University. We are generously supported by many other private foundations as well as community organizations such as the United Way of Licking County.

Rockin’ Cool Freedom School is committed to the changing the lives of the youth in Licking County and we are pleased and honored to have many community partners come alongside. This picture represents an example of both; changing and partnering. “Raquel’s Story” of how Rockin’ Cool Freedom School made a difference in her’s daughter’s life was highlighted by the United Way of Licking County on their website. Together Freedom Schools, United Way and family can change young lives for the better and for life!

The CDF Freedom Schools model incorporates the totality of the Children’s Defense Fund’s mission by fostering environments that support children and young adults to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference Site coordinators and project directors are also trained by CDF to provide supervision and administrative oversight. The core beliefs and educational philosophy that guide CDF Freedom Schools and all CDF youth development programs are:

  • All children are capable of learning and achieving at high standards.
  • Culture and community conditions influence child learning.
  • Appreciation and knowledge of one’s culture engenders self worth and the ability to live in community with others.
  • Education, teachers, and mentors are transformative agents.
  • Literacy is essential to personal empowerment and civic responsibility.
  • Effective teaching requires planning, creativity, and implementation, with reflection and processing.
  • Learning communities that offer a sense of safety, love, caring, and personal power are needed for transformative education.
  • Classroom discipline and management are integral parts of instructional practice.
  • Parents are crucial partners in children’s learning and need supports to become better parents.
  • As citizens, children and adults have the power to make a difference in their communities and be advocates for themselves.


From the Program Director

Welcome to Rockin’ Cool Freedom School and we are happy to have you visit! On our website you will find information about where we came from, what we are all about, who we are helping…

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