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Stony Brook University Establishes Children’s Defense Fund ‘Freedom School’

May 7, 2013 - 1:00:00 PM

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Pictured with Marian Wright Edelman are (left) Charles L. Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges, and (right) Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD.
STONY BROOK, NY, May 7, 2013
– Stony Brook University is to be the site of a new Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School announced University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, alongside Marian Wright Edelman at the University’s Presidential Lecture Series, at which she was the lecturer. Mrs. Edelman is founder and president of the CDF, the preeminent non-profit child advocacy organization under which the Freedom Schools program was established in 1992.

The CDF Freedom Schools program is a summer enrichment program designed to reach underserved youth by providing a learning environment that provides structure, brings communities and families together and uses the best practices of teaching to engage children in learning.

During its inaugural summer, the CDF Freedom School at Stony Brook University will host 50 mostly low-income third-grade students from the Longwood and Wyandanch school districts in a program designed to boost student motivation to read, generate positive attitudes toward learning, and to connect the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities. An essential part of the program is that it will engage and train Stony Brook University undergraduate and graduate students to act as mentors and role models to the children.

Marian Wright Edelman speaks at the Stony Brook University Presidential Lecture.
“This is an amazing educational resource for our students,” said President Stanley. “A Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School provides students – the mentors of today – an opportunity to teach and to become role models for the mentors of tomorrow. It is an invaluable program that has had a positive impact on many of our nation’s youth. On behalf of everyone at Stony Brook University, I thank Marian Wright Edelman, not only for her vision and her wisdom; I thank her as well for her generosity of time and talent. She is truly a national treasure.”

The Freedom Schools program provides student enrichment through a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: high-quality academic achievement; parent and family involvement; social action and civic engagement; intergenerational service leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health. In summer 2012, Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools’ partners served more than 11,500 children in 83 cities and 25 states.

Beginning on July 8 and running every day for six weeks, the program will consist of various activities. In the morning, children will participate in an age-appropriate integrated reading curriculum (IRC) from books that represent the work of the nation’s best writers and illustrators. Afternoon activities will consist of fun, educational activities including arts and crafts, dance, music, field trips, sports, community service projects and more. Children enrolled in the program will be able to take their favorite book home to start their very own home library.
 
Consistent with SUNY’s Education Pipeline vision to see more students finish high school and college prepared for a career in the 21st-century workforce, the Freedom School will allow the University to connect with students and families at an early age, instill a love of learning in these children and help create additional learning opportunities for them. It’s also an opportunity for the University to give back to Long Island communities.

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© Stony Brook University 2013

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