Freedom School at Monroe Street UMC

We changed 50 children’s lives this past summer!

A Freedom School is a six-week Monday through Friday reading and enrichment program developed by the Children’s Defense Fund in 1995 which has a proven track record for increasing reading levels from 1.4 to 2.2 grade levels over two to three summers that children participate in the Freedom School. Freedom Schools were birthed as a vision to end what is known as the “cradle to prison pipeline.”  We know there is a direct correlation between third grade reading test scores and incarceration in adulthood for at-risk, poverty and lower income children in our urban areas.  


In the final week of our 2017 Freedom School,we celebrated Freedom School at our Freedom School Finale, where we honored scholars, their teachers, the administrative staff, and our volunteers. The scholars demonstrated what they had learned in their theater, music, and dance classes, thanks to the leadership of student teachers from Toledo School for the Arts. We enjoyed many cheers and chants and listened to the scholars perform the motivational song, “Something Inside So Strong”. Finally, the children received their backpacks and school supplies. They are ready to go back to school!

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to host a Freedom School, or, in our case, the Maumee Watershed District! Thank you to Scot Ocke and Rae Lynn Schleif for your gracious, visionary leadership. Thank you to every church and individual who made financial gifts to Freedom School and who came to volunteer! Thank you to the breakfast teams, the lunch drivers, the Read Aloud Guests, the classroom assistants, the reading tutors, the lunch buddies, the enrichment helpers, and the field trip chaperones. Thank you to Pastor Scott Carman, who taught our youngest students gentle martial arts, and to John Cleveland from Sylvania First, who taught all of the students music. Thank you to Sylvania First for providing VBS every Tuesday afternoon. Thank you to Epworth and Sylvania for donating backpacks and school supplies, and to all those who donated school supplies. Thank you to Jodi Packard from the Church of St. Andrew, who helped facilitate our partnership with the Toledo Municipal Court. Thank you to the staff at Camp Widewater, who hosted us our last day. Thank you to Monroe St., who lovingly welcomed the children and their families every day of Freedom School.

We hope and pray that through God’s grace this kingdom ministry will grow and bless more and more children in our district.


Watch then videos below from our Freedom Schools this summer.

Video 1, click here.  Watch this years' Freedom School leaders/organizers talk about the Freedom School and why it's so important.

Video 2, click here.  Listen to one volunteers story of her journey giving her time at this years' Freedom School.


To watch a video and learn more about Freedom Schools in West Ohio, click here!