Freedom School Comes to Minneapolis in July
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) is launching the LSS Imhotep Freedom School© in North Minneapolis this summer through a partnership with Children's Defense Fund (CDF). Scholars, as children are known in the Freedom School movement, will have the opportunity to participate in free summer programming that builds leadership, social engagement and academic skills through high-quality STEAM education and summer reading activities.
With roots in the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964*, the innovative program’s mission engages scholars in building their confidence and skills sets to “make a difference in themselves, their families, their communities, their countries, and their world” with hope, education and action. Key program components involve parents and families through weekly parent engagement nights, and intergenerational mentoring of college students who participate as servant leader interns within the classrooms.
“Freedom Schools provide young people a chance to deepen and stretch themselves personally and academically,” said Heather Kamia, program director for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota who will serve as executive director of the Imhotep Freedom School. “The Freedom School directly addresses the disparities that harm our children of color by engaging them in their own social action and ability to problem-solve the issues in their community that are important to them.”
The Imhotep Freedom School will serve up to 60 scholars primarily from North Minneapolis and focus on five areas: academics and character-building; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational servant leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health.
Science professionals from the Bell and Science Museums, along with public school educators, will be teaming up with LSS Imhotep Freedom School to offer STEAM learning activities throughout the summer. Fridays will focus on field trips into the community where scholars deepen their relationships with community members and build positive connections to youth-friendly resources.
“Freedom School is a program that not only deeply engages scholars in what it means to grow into self-love, but one that also prepares scholars with the intellectual tools to critically think about the world around them. My involvement in Freedom School has heightened my sense of self awareness and has challenged me to continue exploring and developing my sense of agency in the communities that I am part of.”
The school will run from July 12 to August 20, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Christ River of Life Church, 2200 North Fremont Avenue in Minneapolis.
Students who have completed kindergarten through eighth grade are eligible. Meals and transportation are provided. To promote safety for students, staff and parents, the school will adhere to COVID-19 protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control.
*Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project, was a 1964 voter registration drive aimed at increasing the number of registered Black voters in Mississippi. Over 700 mostly white volunteers joined African Americans in Mississippi to fight against voter intimidation and discrimination at the polls. “Freedom Summer” by American Experience | PBS
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota began in 1865 when a Lutheran pastor and his congregation opened an orphanage for children near Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota. Today, with 2,500 employees and 10,000 volunteers, Lutheran Social Service helps one in 65 Minnesotans through services that inspire hope, change lives and build community. Statewide, the organization seeks to foster safe and supportive homes for children, restore health and wellness in families, empower people with disabilities to live the lives they imagine, and promote health, independence and quality of life for older adults. For comprehensive information about the work of LSS, visit www.lssmn.org.