Freedom School trains leaders to reach next generation

Freedom School trains leaders to reach next generation

0 Comments 📅June 4th, 2013, 15:00

In 1995, the Children’s Defense Fund, organizers of the CDF Freedom Schools national summer and after-school program, purchased a tract of land in Clinton, Tenn. Nearly 20 years later, the Haley Farm which once belonged to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alex Haley, has become a retreat where Freedom School volunteers and site coordinators from across the county gather for training and to recharge.

Every year, more than 1,300 volunteers visit Haley Farm just north of Knoxville for the Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute, a seven-day leadership training course. While at the conference, they spend much of their time at the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Convention Center. We are happy to host such an extraordinary group of people at our facility this week. The Freedom School leaders created during this conference will influence young minds and empower the next generation by inspiring a love of learning in more than 25 states across the country.

The Freedom School provides summer and after-school programs that support children and families. The researched-based curriculum is based on five qualifications: high-quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health. The Children’s Defense Fund partners with community organizations, faith institutions, schools, colleges and universities, homeless shelters and juvenile detention centers to foster learning and to connect families to community resources.

The theme of the 2013 conference is “Children and Youth as Movement Builders and Change Agents.” When these leaders graduate on June 8, the movement that begins in Knoxville will affect communities across the nation for years into the future. We are honored to have these agents of change into our center.

I am so pleased that the Knoxville Convention Center and our community is able to support the Freedom School and the Children’s Defense Fund in their efforts to influence the future of our communities by shaping the minds of the next generation of leaders.

Congratulations and thank you to the Freedom School servant leader interns and site coordinators who will graduate from this program. We’ll cheer you on as you change the world!

For more information on the Children’s Defense Fund, visit

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