First Baptist Church of Hampton CDF (Children’s Defense Fund) Freedom School

A Place to Learn. A Place to Grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Freedom School?

The Freedom School is the brainchild of Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). The schools got their impetus from the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964, where college student volunteers provided instruction to Black students in the segregated south in reading, writing, humanities, mathematics, and science along with subjects not taught in Mississippi public schools, like Black history and constitutional rights.

The CDF opened the first two CDF Freedom Schools sites in 1995 to address the needs of children who lacked access to high-quality literacy programs during the summer. The CDF Freedom Schools program today is designed to improve reading, language skills, and interpersonal relationships; strengthen families; connect children to medical and other needed social services; and develop in all participants the skills needed to improve conditions for children and families in their communities.

CDF Freedom Schools® provides summer and after-school enrichment through a research-based and multicultural program model that supports K-12 scholars and their families through five essential components. We focus on high-quality academic and character-building enrichment, parent and family involvement, civic engagement and social action, intergenerational servant leadership development, nutrition, health, and mental health.

Each Freedom School program is different depending on the needs of the community. There are 191 program sites in 36 states, including Washington, D.C. serving over 11,000 scholars. The First Baptist Church of Hampton is proud to bring this enriching program to Hampton Roads.

Why has First Baptist Church decided to host a Freedom School?

At the First Baptist Church of Hampton, we believe we have a responsibility to restore and revitalize families and communities. We believe that the mission of the church extends far beyond our four walls to transforming communities to be better places.  We’ve been God led to open the doors of a Freedom School to help young people become lifelong learners and advocates for progress. By equipping the youngest generation, we’re sculpting a brighter tomorrow where we celebrate every young person’s potential and affirm their profound impact on the world. The FBCH CDF Freedom School will ignite the curiosity of our scholars while focusing on strong reading skills that will equip them for life.

When do the doors of First Baptist Church of Hampton Freedom School open?

Our inaugural session runs from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. from June 17 – July 26. We will be closed on July 4 and 5 for the holiday.

Who is eligible to attend the Freedom School?

We will have 50 scholars who are excited to learn and experience new things. The First Baptist Church of Hampton CDF Freedom School is open to children who will be entering the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade in the Fall of 2024. The program is open to all students in Hampton Roads. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

A commitment to consistently attend is key to who will be accepted into the program. Accepting a spot as a Freedom School scholar signals your commitment to have your child at the school every day, with few exceptions. Scholars who attend the program regularly have been proven to get the most from the program.

What is the focus of the Freedom School?

The Freedom School is a summer enrichment program whose primary focus is literacy. Through access to high-quality books, we strive to deepen the understanding that our scholars (how we refer to our young people), have of themselves and of all they have in common with others in a multiracial, multicultural democratic society. The program helps foster scholars’ love for reading and avoid summer learning loss. The FBCH CDF Freedom School encourages fun and exploration and fosters an environment that compels our scholars to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves as well as their families, schools, communities, country, and world through hope, education, and action. 

Our Pillars

  • High-quality academic and character-building programming
  • Parent and family involvement
  • Social, cultural, and historical awareness
  • Civic engagement and social action
  • Nutrition, health, and mental health
How much does it cost to attend the Freedom School?

The Freedom School is absolutely free for all of our scholars.

Do I need to provide lunch for my child if they attend the Freedom School?

Nutrition and health are key pillars of the Freedom School. Daily breakfast, lunch and snacks have been planned using nutritious guidelines.  

Do I need to provide transportation to the Freedom School?

Yes, families are responsible for providing transportation to and from the Freedom School.

Who leads the Freedom School?

A unique part of the program is that along with our trained administrative team, the Freedom School is a training ground for future leaders by training servant leaders to work with our scholars. Servant leaders are college students who have been trained to provide leadership and guidance on all facets of the FBCH CDF Freedom School program. We’ve chosen servant leaders who will engage, excite, and encourage our scholars to do their very best.

As a parent or guardian how involved do I have to be in the Freedom School?

Parent involvement is very important to the Freedom School. Just as important as it is that our scholars come every day, it’s equally important that parents are involved. We hold a mandatory weekly parent meeting to update parents on what’s happening that week and to get any feedback you might have.

What else should I know about the Freedom School?

The Freedom School will be one of the best experiences your child will have. They’ll learn new things, meet new people, and continue to learn in an environment that is fun and encouraging. Your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grader will begin the school year ready to learn and knowing they can make a difference. 

I don’t have a child attending but I’d like to support the FBCH CDF Freedom School. What can I do?

The easiest way to support our efforts is to donate supplies from our Wishlist. See our wish list here: Once you complete your purchase, the supplies will be delivered directly to the First Baptist Church of Hampton CDF Freedom School.

If your organization has services or supplies that will further our program, we want to hear from you. Email us at with your ideas.

Of course we also accept monetary donations online through Paypal or with a credit or debit card here:

We and our scholars thank you for anything you do to help support this important work.

If you have any further questions about the First Baptist Church Freedom School, feel free to email us at

You can also find additional information about the history and work of the Children’s Defense Fund  Freedom Schools around the country by visiting: