Peacemakers of Rocky Mount will again host a summer enrichment program called Freedom School for 180 children each weekday this summer beginning June 19. In addition to the program in South Rocky Mount, the organization will operate a second location in Tarboro thanks to the generous support of Edgecombe County Schools.
Using curriculum designed by the Children’s Defense Fund, Freedom School helps rising first through ninth graders fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. “The program has gained so much popularity over the past six years that we have to turn away applicants each year,” Peacemakers Executive Director Jesse Lewis said.
Local children are taught using a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: high quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health. The program, like many of Peacemakers’ activities, is sponsored by a number of private foundations, government agencies, and individuals. The program also offers parents and family members the support and skills they need to help their children succeed.
“As a non-profit organization, we need the community’s support through volunteerism, read-aloud guests, donated snack items and financial support,” Board Chair Kelley Deal said. “Our Freedom School is at capacity in Rocky Mount with 120 children registered; and the new Tarboro location will host 60 at Patillo Middle School. These children will participate in evidence-based curriculum fostering their appreciation for learning. Peacemakers is making a difference that will benefit the greater area for years to come, by engaging children in our community, many of whom significantly under-perform at school.”
Participants are pre and post-tested to document their progress over the eight weeks. Data from last year show on average the children increase their reading level by 14 months. “Children who participated last year, demonstrated a desire to spend time reading, when they had minimal or no desire to read at the beginning of the program,” Lewis said. Additionally, improvements are made in level of self-confidence including better self-perceptions of identity, ability to succeed academically, desire for future positive growth and understanding of career options available to them.
Peacemakers is a Christian community development 501c3 organization serving the under-resourced area of South Rocky Mount, by empowering citizens with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead successful and sustainable lives. Peacemakers strives to tangibly demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ in such a way that it results ultimately in the complete transformation of the community and its people. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org