CARE Freedom School

CDF Freedom Schools!

CARE continues to expand support for K-12 youth with the implementation of a six-week summer literacy program. The program focuses on youth from Leon County in grades 2-5.
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What is CARE Freedom School?

CARE has partnered with the Children's Defense Fund to launch the CARE Freedom School in support of local youth. The CARE Freedom School joins over 150 other Freedom Schools across the country. Through the CARE Freedom School, children are supported in finding their love for reading while also experiencing positive affirmation to enhance their self-esteem. The CARE Freedom School follows the model set by Marian Wright Edelman which demands that Freedom Schools positively impact the lives of not only the children the program serves but also the family. 

Through the CARE Freedom School experience, students will be supported in:

  • Minimizing summer reading loss
  • Increasing reading confidence
  • Learning about college as an opportunity
  • Reading more!

Standard Eligibility 

CARE Freedom School is open to youth age 6 - 14 from the target area. Additionally, priority consideration is given to youth from families with low to moderate income as evidence by students receiving free/reduced lunch or having applicable income for free/reduced lunch qualification if attending a community eligibility provision school.

Character Eligibility 

 Youth interested in CARE Freedom School should also have a desire to engage in a social learning experience; willingness to engage in reading instruction during summer; and openness to experience new activities and create new friendships.


Families can express interest in the CARE Freedom School program via 2024 Interest Form.

Target Area 

The CARE Freedom School's target area is Leon County. CARE has welcomed many Leon County Public School graduates to FSU. By investing in Leon's youth we are investing in the future of our community. Our commitment to student success extends beyond our campus.
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Key Details

The program's dates for 2024 are June 10 to July 19. Youth will receive breakfast, lunch and snacks during daily participation in the program. Students will keep a copy of each book that is read as part of the summer program. Transportation to/from the program site is not provided. 
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In general, program participants are expected to: have consistent attendance during the six weeks; be prepared for a high energy experience; have positive attitude; and be willing to listen and learn about new ideas, people and concepts. Families must also be active participants. 
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CARE Freedom School Components

Summer Program. The six week summer reading enrichment experience for youth focuses on a high quality integrated reading curriculum that is curated by CDF. The program operates daily, Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm. Specifically youth will experience the following: 

  • Three hours of daily reading instruction from trained Servant Leader Interns (undergraduate students)
  • Enrichment activities related to arts, health and wellness, financial literacy to support development and achievement 
  • Engagement with community leaders and organizations to learn more about their home
  • Parent and family engagement sessions to connect to community resources or learn more about reading experiences 

Academic Year. Academic year engagement is designed to be complementary to the summer program. Participation is not required but strongly encouraged. Each quarter, youth and their families will be invited to a workshop or experience that focuses on the following:

  • College-Going opportunities for family members and youth to include college affordability and saving
  • Understanding academic advocacy within K-12
  • Arts and Wellness based enrichment activities
  • Campus tours and information sessions at Florida State

Other CARE Freedom School Information

There is no monetary cost associated with being in the CARE Freedom School Program due to funding from the Community Human Service Partnership Grant, Florida State University and community partners. As a result of the significant investment into the program, our only ask of youth and families is a commitment to engage in the program and share the knowledge gained with others.