Joseph speaks about our new Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program.

“Touch it, read it, learn it, teach it.  Everybody talk about it!”

I found myself chanting these words at the top of my lungs last month as I joined 40 other Executive Directors who, along with Emmaus House, will launch a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® site this summer.  In just a few short months, the campuses of Emmaus House and The Study Hall will be bursting at the seams with children chanting these same words as we welcome 70 young scholars, grades K-8.

In Peoplestown, 48% of our families live below the poverty line.  The children in these families struggle in school, with only 69% of third graders reading at or above grade level (compared to 85% across APS).  This year, Emmaus House has renewed our commitment to the educational achievement of Peoplestown children by revamping Camp Summer Hope through a partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund.

With a literature-based enrichment curriculum as the centerpiece, the CDF Freedom Schools® model is designed to foster the love of reading in young people while enhancing reading comprehension skills.  In 2014, 85% of children enrolled in the program nationwide maintained or increased their reading skills over the summer. 

In addition to our 70 neighborhood scholars, Emmaus House will welcome eight Servant Leader Interns who will deliver the curriculum and infuse our block at the corner of Hank Aaron and Haygood with energy, enthusiasm and a deep love for kids.  To lead this effort, Emmaus House’ own Ann Fowler has stepped into a newly created Director of Education Services role.  Our education team is already busy designing enrichment experiences in the arts, science, and physical education.

Emmaus House isn’t just launching a new program this summer; we’re embarking on a movement.  Will you join the movement to bridge the education gap and break the cycle of poverty in Peoplestown?