Freedom School Summer Literacy Camp

LifeWise StL became an official Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools ® program partner in 2016. Founded in 1995, the 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 reading enrichment for children who might not otherwise have access to books, the program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps.

The dynamic curriculum aligns with the Common Core Standards and includes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM education) activities. A 10:1 child-to-teacher ratio keeps the culturally relevant curriculum engaging.

Camp operates from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.; Monday through Friday; for six consecutive weeks in the months of June and July.

Who We Serve

140 low-income children who attend elementary and middle schools and reside in neighborhoods on the south side of St. Louis City (primarily in zip codes 63104, 63111, 63116 and 63118).

What We Do

Every morning begins with Harambee, which includes a read aloud, singing and chanting, announcements and a moment of silence. Scholars spend the next three hours on an integrated reading curriculum.

Afternoons include a variety of activities based on scholars’ interests and strengths to enrich and empower them. Typical activities include: visual and performing arts, field trips, fitness, nutrition and cooking, science education, drug and violence prevention education, social action and community service projects, and more.

Our program…

  • Provides engaging activities that nurture children’s minds, bodies and spirits. Children are introduced to a collection of books that reflect their own images and reinforce the CDF theme I Can Make a Difference.
  • Provides parents with the support and skills they need to help their children succeed. Parents are invited to serve as read aloud guests during Harambee, chaperone field trips, attend educational workshops and more.
  • Encourages children not only to explore the problems facing their communities, but also to become active in working toward solutions.
  • Provides healthy activities and nutritious meals to improve students’ health and promote their physical growth. Breakfast, lunch and snack are served daily.

Servant Leaders

The CDF Freedom School program is a servant leader incubator for two generations – the children served and the college students and recent graduates who teach and serve them. Training coordinated by the CDF Freedom Schools national office prepares the young adults to provide an enriching experience for the children they serve.

Training topics include:

  • Child Development
  • Positive Discipline
  • Diversity Issues
  • Team Building
  • Conflict Resolution
  • First-Aid & CPR Training
  • Safe Sanctuary Training
  • Emergency Protocol
  • Incident/Accident Reports

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Abdul-Rasheed Ajayi, Director of Young Scholars Program, at or (314) 627-1241.