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The Youth and Family Center announced as Freedom School site

St. Louis, MO— In December 2020, The Youth and Family Center applied to be a Freedom School location for the St. Louis region.

The children who reside in the surrounding areas to the Youth and Family Center so often begin school behind their peers as they are more likely to lack access to high quality early development and learning opportunities. Recent national data shows the majority of public school students cannot read or compute at grade level, and poor and low-income children and children of color are particularly behind. We know these statistics have been exacerbated this year without in-person learning. When children are not attending school in-person, they are not only missing out on vital education that is hard to deliver virtually; they are also without services they rely on and support from educators and professionals trained to connect them with  resources to ensure their most urgent needs are met. For some students, that’s making sure they have at least one warm meal per day, for others it’s counseling and emotional support. 

 “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a crisis unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will impact this generation of students for the rest of their lives. Our community centers and schools are at the heart of the work to close the achievement gap that persists in this country, now more than ever.” Starsky Wilson, President of the Children’s Defense Fund.  

The CDF Freedom Schools® program aims to support our country’s most marginalized learners. CDF Freedom Schools sites serve predominantly low-income children of color.

This added support for the children in the Near North Side communities can drastically improve their educational outcomes. Before school, after-school, and summer learning opportunities complement the traditional school day in a number of ways, providing a range of academic and social-emotional support that extend the impact of the school day. In 2019, nearly 85 percent of Freedom Schools participants either improved or maintained their reading skills over the course of the six-week program and avoided the summer learning loss often suffered by children not participating in summer enrichment.

“Our children need us. They are our future; they are the next generation of leaders in our region. It is our responsibility to make sure they are not only having their basic needs met, but that the barriers they experience are eliminated.” said Bridget Jones, Executive Director of The Youth and Family Center. 

The program will be offered free of charge to the Near North Side community. It will also be conducted in partnership with local Universities and will offer internships and volunteer opportunities to collegiate students looking to create positive change and impact in our region.

About the Youth and Family Center

The Youth and Family Center (YFC) helps youth, families and older adults attain self-sustaining lives by providing innovative social, educational and recreational resources. Since 1888 it has  served as an anchor for the near North Side of St. Louis., providing responsive services to help improve the quality of life for low income families. It is committed to provide innovative and quality programs and services for everyone in the family.


About the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School Program

The mission of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is to ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. The CDF Freedom Schools® program provides summer and after-school enrichment through a research-based and multicultural program model that supports K-12 scholars and their families through five essential components: high quality academic and character-building enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational servant leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health.

Register today by calling 314-231-1147.

Working together

This work is essential

This work is essential An update to the Community from Bridget Jones, Executive Director To my fellow community leaders, volunteers, and program and outreach essential

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