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The MedQuarter | March 2nd, 2021

Children's Defense Fund Freedom SchoolsTanager Place, a nonprofit organization serving Eastern Iowa children and families, will launch Iowa’s first CDF Freedom Schools site this summer.

Tanager Place is an accredited provider of the program created by The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF).

CDF Freedom Schools are six-week summer programs designed to increase literacy, self-esteem, socio-emotional skills, and a love of learning for children in grades K-12. The program has its roots deep in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and aims to give all children the opportunity to engage with and enhance their education through the lens of literary characters who look like them and have walked through experiences similar to their own.

According to a release, the program will positively impact the lives of youth in the community, particularly youth who are racial minorities and live in low-income households. By offering this program, Tanager Place will help students avoid summer learning loss, build personal libraries, increase confidence, boost interest in social and civic engagement, advocacy and address mental health risk factors in a proactive manner.

“As part of Tanager Place’s prevention offerings, I am so excited about the pilot of the program in our community. Freedom Schools has never been offered anywhere in Iowa before. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage kids and families during a time of year when structure and mentorship are much needed, especially after the last year we have all experienced,” said Okpara Rice, Tanager Place CEO, in a release. “Freedom Schools will allow us to engage and intervene with kids at one of the most critical times in their development. Anything we can do to enhance the self-esteem of a child and empower them to make a difference in our community will have a great impact on their behavioral and mental health needs as they grow and develop.”

The program will be held June 14-July 23 and serve 30 children. Learn more here.

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