Monthly Newsletter - May 2014
Nearly 2,000 college students arrive in Knoxville, Tennessee this Sunday, June 1st to learn how they can make a difference for children this summer through the CDF Freedom Schools® program. This year’s national training theme, From Freedom Summer to Freedom Schools: Improving the Odds for Children, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Freedom Summer Project, the inspiration for CDF Freedom Schools. Tune in and join us Sunday night 7 - 9 p.m. EST for an extraordinary program with civil rights leaders Marian Wright Edelman, Congressman John Lewis and Ambassador Andrew Young. For this special occasion we will be streaming the event live. You won’t want to miss this!
This summer, more than 200 CDF Freedom Schools sites will operate in 87 cities and 28 states (including Washington, D.C.) and will touch the lives of a record 12,500 children. The college-aged servant leader interns will mentor children and teach them the Integrated Reading Curriculum, proven to stem summer learning loss and improve reading skills.
Here’s how you can make a difference. Support tomorrow’s leaders today with your donation to the CDF Freedom Schools program. Donate now.
Help us ensure there are no hungry children this summer! The Children’s Defense Fund is encouraging CDF Freedom Schools® partners to use the USDA's summer feeding program to provide nutritious meals and snacks for children attending summer CDF Freedom Schools programs. The USDA, which administers the summer feeding program, says there are many ways individuals and organizations can get involved: “You can serve the meals, promote the program, provide transportation, volunteer at summer food sites, or even go out and find sponsors.” The USDA’s “Summer Meals Toolkit” provides information on sponsors, sites, links to state agencies, and much more, or call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE or use this online map. Please help out. Only 11 percent of 21 million, the number of children who benefit from the National School Lunch Program, will participate in the Summer Feeding Program. Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation. If there are not enough summer feeding sites in your community, ask why not. Help make sure children in your community are getting the basics.
Children in the States
New Children in the States fact sheets are now available. Get the facts about how children in your state fare across leading indicators including child poverty, child health, early childhood education and more. Use this resource as a tool for activism this summer to educate your political leaders on the needs of children in your state.
Youth Spotlight: Kapria Lee
The cap says it all. Kapria’s childhood years were plagued by loss, abandonment, and illness. Through it all, Kapria excelled in school and made it to and through college with the help of CDF’s Beat the Odds® scholarship and leadership development program. This past weekend, Kapria received a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Maryland. Among her many honors were a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship, Access College Scholarship, 2013 Social Innovation Scholar, 2013 University of Maryland McNair Scholar and 2013 McNair Ambassador Award. Congratulations Kapria, your CDF family is so proud of you and all of our Beat the Odds 2014 graduates!
Strong Start Update
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee reported favorably the Strong Start for America's Children Act on May 14. CDF supports this important legislation, which assists states in providing high-quality preschool for all low-income 4-year-olds and increasing investments in other high-quality, comprehensive early childhood development and learning opportunities across the birth through 5 continuum. The need for these new investments in quality early childhood learning and development opportunities was once again made clear when the National Institute for Early Education Research earlier this month released its new report: "The State of Preschool 2013." The report documents the availability and quality of state preschool programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the 2012-2013 school year. The report indicated a $30.6 million increase in state funding for preschool in the 2012-2013 school year, but that number did not come close to making up the ground that was lost during the recession; and, for the first time in a decade, the report indicated a decline in state preschool enrollment.
Join Us: Upcoming Events
It’s not too late to register for next month’s CDF/ETS symposium, “Advancing Success for Black Men in College” in Washington, D.C. and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry at CDF Haley Farm in July. The June 23rd CDF/ETS symposium is devoted to the challenges and opportunities facing young Black men in pursuit of a college degree. Learn more and register. The Proctor Institute is for advocates looking to renew and strengthen their faith and moral foundation in justice work. This year’s theme is “Standing Our Ground: Justice and Equity for All God's Children.” Learn more and register.
In Memoriam: Maya Angelou and Vincent Harding
This month we lost two dear friends, both giants in the Civil Rights Movement and in the decades that followed. They both joined us at CDF’s 2012 National Conference in Cincinnati to “pursue justice for children and the poor with urgency and persistence.” Dr. Vincent Harding, who passed away May 19 at age 82, was a beloved historian, theologian, social justice activist, and visionary who never lost sight of the “beloved community” his friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed our nation and world could become.
Yesterday Maya Angelou passed at age 86. She was a lantern when the world was a darker place, and her lyrical words provoked anger, comfort and hope for millions. As the first Black woman poet laureate in the nation’s history she was a role model for Black girls to dream of charting new and bolder courses to lead their families and communities and the country to a better America. We leave the final words to Dr. Angelou from her last tweet: Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”