Monthly Newsletter

Monthly Newsletter - September 2012

in this edition

The 25 Percent

Support the Beat the Odds® Scholarship and Leadership Development Program

10 Days and Counting…

Three Weeks to Organize…

CDF Freedom Schools® Rock!

CDF Teach-In

Geoffrey Canada: Master Class on Leadership

The 25 Percent

These shameful child poverty levels call for urgent and persistent action. Citizens must demand that every political leader state what they will do now to invest in and protect vulnerable children and to prepare them to be competent future workers. It is way past time to eliminate epidemic child poverty and the suffering, stress, homelessness, and mis-education it spawns.

— Marian Wright Edelman

This month, the U.S. Census Bureau’s new poverty data show millions of families struggling to keep their heads above water in the wake of the Great Recession. After almost a million children fell into poverty in 2010, record high levels continued in 2011 with more than one in five children—16.1 million—living in poverty. Children under age 5 continued to suffer most—25 percent—one in four infants, toddlers and preschoolers were poor during the years of greatest brain development. Almost half of those children lived in extreme poverty.

Get armed for action with our new child poverty fact sheets.

Get primed for outrage with Marian Wright Edelman’s column, “Ryanomics” about the threats to children from the Ryan budget passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

If you believe as we do that Americans have more just and sensible choices like helping babies during their early childhood development years rather than helping billionaires to more huge tax cuts, then speak up and fight back. Join our Be Careful What You Cut campaign. Add your face, your voice, and your vote for children.

Sign this petition to Congress telling them to be careful what they cut.


Support the Beat the Odds® Scholarship and Leadership Development Program

Something that I’ve learned from my mentor is always pay things forward, not necessarily with money but with actions and deeds…you’re not the only one out there in a bad situation.

— 2012 Beat the Odds winner, Margaret Hobbins

CDF will hold a series of events in the coming months to honor extraordinary young people and underscore the positive potential of children to overcome overwhelming challenges like poverty, homelessness, hunger and abuse to excel academically and give back to their communities. Each student receives a $10,000 scholarship, a laptop computer, guidance through the college admission process, and an invitation to join CDF’s leadership training programs. For the past 22 years, we have been able to support more than 700 students and serve as a catalyst for those young people to become doctors, lawyers, Peace Corps volunteers, teachers and contributing citizens in their community. Awards ceremonies will be held in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.


Attend if you can, but please donate today to support these deserving young people as they embark on the path to college and successful adulthood. Watch a sneak preview of Eva Maria Turcios, one of the 2012 Washington, D.C. winners.

10 Days and Counting…

…People aren't fraudulently voting. The fraud is that we are not all registered, and we are not all voting.

— Robert Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause at CDF’s National Conference

Early voting has started. Deadlines to register voters are fast approaching in most states. This is your LAST CHANCE to organize voter registration drives or go door-to-door to register voters. Please visit our resource center for everything you need to register your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.

Let us know what you’re doing to Rock the Vote through Facebook and Twitter, using hashtag #cdfACTion. Children can't vote, but we must!

Three Weeks to Organize…

Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue... — Deuteronomy 16:20

On October 19-21, thousands of the faithful all across our nation will be focusing on justice for children in their prayers and sermons, educational programs, and activities. Most Children’s Sabbaths take place in a congregation during its customary worship and education time. Here’s what just a few congregations are doing:

  • Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, N.J., is planning a Children’s Sabbath worship service that will be followed by a four-week educational series on dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™.
  • Children’s Sabbath organizers in Philadelphia are planning their 19th annual multi-faith, community-wide Children’s Sabbath this year.
  • In Rochester, N.Y., a diverse coalition co-chaired by Jewish and Presbyterian leaders has more than 70 faith communities participating on the Sabbath weekend. Together they will send a letter to Gov. Cuomo and state leaders about funding for child care subsidies.

Free, easy-to-use resources for various faith traditions—including prayers, sermon ideas, readings, and lesson plans—may be downloaded from this link. Whether you participate on the designated weekend or plan your Children’s Sabbath for a later date, don’t miss this opportunity to lift a faithful voice of concern and commitment as we pursue justice for children and families in poverty with urgency and persistence.

CDF Freedom Schools® Rock!

I have been to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of schools around the country, and I will tell you my visits to Freedom Schools have been amongst my most inspiring and the most memorable.

— Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

CDF Freedom Schools programs stopped summer learning loss for the overwhelming majority of students studied. Again! For the fourth consecutive year, the Center for Adolescent Literacies at UNC Charlotte found that over 90 percent of CDF Freedom Schools scholars maintain or gain in their reading ability while participating in the summer program.

  • The CDF Freedom Schools program prevented summer learning loss in reading for over 90 percent of participants. 60 percent of Freedom School scholars showed moderate to significant gains in their ability to read. 36 percent of scholars maintained their reading levels.
  • Gains were made by all age groups. Students in 3rd through 8th grade gained over a year in reading ability. On average, students in K-2nd grade gained just under a full year in reading ability.

National research shows that low-income students are at risk to lose two to three months reading ability during the summer months. This loss is cumulative, and as a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.

If you would like to bring a CDF Freedom Schools program to your community next summer, your application must be submitted by October 19, 2012. To request an application or more information regarding the application process, please contact Allison Merfeld at (202) 662-3589 or You’re invited to learn more about the CDF Freedom Schools movement at one of our interest meetings. Click here for details.

CDF Teach-In

If you see a wrong, you must do something…knowledge makes us all responsible. — Ndume Olatushani

On September 20, CDF’s Washington, D.C. office hosted an energizing interactive teach-in on mass incarceration and how to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™. Moderated by the Rev. Janet Wolf, national coordinator of CDF Haley Farm programs and an expert on prison ministry, three panelists shared their stories, struggles, and lessons learned: Ndume Olatushani, released on June 1 after 28 years in prison, 19 on death row for a crime he did not commit; the Rev. Damien Durr, a young adult ministry coordinator; and community organizer Eric Brown, Jr. CDF staff and community members learned valuable lessons about fairness, the importance of community, and the courage to act.

Organize your own teach-in around the “Ending the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™ and Mass Incarceration” conference plenary session. Order a DVD of the session or a full set of DVDs of all the conference plenary sessions today. 

Geoffrey Canada: Master Class on Leadership


President and chief executive officer for Harlem Children’s Zone and CDF chair Geoffrey Canada maps out three essential tools for leadership to 800 youth during the Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT™) session at the CDF’s 2012 National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. In this clip, Canada gives three exclusive lessons to the audience on the tenets of action, ethics and leadership that will last a lifetime. The full session is a master class on leadership and a perfect tool for your action team, community group or youth ministry. Buy this session and the entire set of conference DVDs as a resource for your community activism.

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