New Beginnings for Ohio’s Children

Greater Hilltop Area Shalom Zone Freedom School

Dear Supporters of Ohio’s Children, 

As the cycle of a new school year begins with a fresh start, CDF-Ohio is pleased to announce our new and improved website. Our new format is cleaner and easily accessible through your mobile device. Visit us at

To recap our summer months, more than 1,300 Ohio students’ summer learning loss and hunger were stopped through our Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program held at 22 program sites across the state. Over the last five years, 5,000 Ohio children at more than 50 sites have had the CDF Freedom Schools experience.

The CDF Freedom Schools program provides quality out-of-school time enrichment and day time meals for children, and also boosts a child’s motivation to read, develops positive attitudes toward learning, and cultivates self-esteem. CDF Freedom Schools also help connect Ohio families to local resources. Through partnerships with community-based organizations, schools, faith institutions and colleges and universities, the CDF Freedom Schools program offers an engaging environment with purpose and expectations during the summer.

Freedom Schools Complete First Year in Ohio’s State-Run Juvenile Correctional Facilities

“From this book, I learned that even though something is not your responsibility, sometimes you need to step in and help someone.” – Youth R, DYS Freedom Schools participant, on Battle of Jericho

In summer 2014, Ohio began to offer the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program in all of its state run juvenile correctional facilities. The Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) issued the message Freedom Schools: A Year Later, in July 2015. Director Reed praises the success of the CDF Freedom Schools program in increasing positive behavior, reducing violent behavior and promoting leadership all while improving reading levels and fostering a love of reading. Participants read at least six books per session, and six-week sessions are held in all three DYS facilities several times a year. Read the Department of Youth Services’ press release to learn more about Ohio’s ground-breaking DYS Freedom Schools program.

Beat the Odds® Scholars are Off to College!


Thanks to the support of our sponsors, donors and friends, our extraordinary 2015 Beat the Odds® scholarship recipients have each begun their freshman year of college with tuition assistance, a new laptop, and most importantly, knowing that they have 200 plus fans in the community pulling for their continued success! Also, if you missed the prayer offered for the students, watch now.

The 2015 scholars and the schools they are attending below:


Ayriq Sims
Ohio State University

Alberto Jones
University of Cincinnati

Walter Thompson
Cleveland State University

Kaylyn Sigman
Mount Vernon Nazarene University

Britiny Lee
Bates College

Also this fall, our first group of Beat the Odds scholars from 2012 are beginning their senior year at their respective institutions of higher learning. Hear all their stories here.

Please visit our website for updates announcing our 2016 scholars and awards event!


Ohio’s Celebrated Diversity

Understanding the need to ensure every child’s access to health care, CDF-Ohio— in partnership with community based organizations around the state—completed a deep study into the changing child population in Ohio. We found that significant numbers of our children, while eligible, are not enrolled in health insurance. In our report, Reaching Ohio’s Ethnic Minority Children, we note the challenges faced by Ohio’s newest families in accessing healthcare. 

Using our researched-based solutions, we began outreach to encourage ethnic minority families to enroll in accessible health insurance options. CDF-Ohio has communicated through advertisements on benches, public transportation, and at local festivals. We have also printed posters, in native languages, and postcards to distribute to local businesses, healthcare facilities, and other places that serve Ohio’s diverse communities. Keep an eye out, you just might see one of our ads in your neighborhood!

Children's Defense Fund-Ohio in the News

Parents should press for answers with zero tolerance policies in schoolsWBNS 10TV

Gun-storage law succeeds in other statesColumbus Dispatch, Letter to the Editor, Renuka Mayadev

We can reduce health disparities and ensure that ALL children have health coverageCommunity Catalyst Health Policy Hub

Stemming Summer Reading LossYoungstown Vindicator

Stuck in the Middle? Ohio 23rd Nationally in Child Well-BeingPublic News Service Ohio

Reducing child poverty should be everyone's goalCleveland Plain Dealer, Editorial

Read more CDF-Ohio news

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