By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
The local Beta Gamma Chapter of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. held a pre-conference community event at the Monroe Street United Methodist Church as part of their 82nd Midwest Conference weekend. The chapter donated funds to help assist the church’s Freedom School.
Jaqueline Quinn, president of Beta Gamma Chapter presented executive director of the Monroe Street Freedom School, Clara Petty, with a $700 check.
Supporting the program financially was directly in line with the sorority’s goals, explained Quinn. Phi Delta Kappa is a prestigious professional sorority of teachers founded in 1923.
“We are excited to pour into this awesome program, and we thank each and every one of you for how hard you work. Part of our program under our sorority is youth, education and service… and you’re doing it all,” said Quinn.
Members of the sorority joined the Freedom School in a circle where the servant leader interns (teachers) led the members in “Harambe” an interactive motivational song that the children sing each morning.
The Freedom School is a K-12 summer enrichment program. It is a an “answer to ending the cradle to prison pipeline. It’s a safe space for children to strengthen reading skills and experience new opportunities to grow and serve,” said Petty. One of the goals of the school is to prevent the reading loss children experience during the summers off from school.
Rooted in the legacy of the Freedom Summer of the 60s, the Freedom School became an initiative in 1995 through the Children Defense Fund. Nationally, there are 75 Freedom School sites. In Toledo, the Monroe Street United Methodist Church has hosted Freedom School since 2018.
Each year 50 scholars (children) participate in the program, led by servant leader interns (teachers) in curriculum that is African American based. This summer, 30 read-aloud guests from the community and from around the world will read with the students. The children will participate in three field trips with STEM included in afternoon enrichment activities. All students receive breakfast lunch and a snack daily provided by an in-house chef and receive culturally relevant materials and books each week.
The Freedom School will operate for six weeks this summer (June 13 through July 22.) Registration for Freedom School 2022 is full. The program is still in need of volunteers to assist with distributing lunch, read with children and staff the sign-in table. Volunteer training will be held on Wednesday June 8 at Monroe Street Church. For more information and to sign up go to www.monroestreetchurch.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations for Freedom School can be sent to Monroe Street Neighborhood Center 3163 Monroe St. Toledo, OH 43606.