More than 50 Flint elementary school students will learn and grow in a loving environment this summer at a new Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School sponsored by the Cynthia Estrada Charity Fund. The Freedom School will be administered by Bethel United Methodist Church – Flint, the only historically African-American church in the city.
“Although we know that too many Flint residents are still relying on bottled water and are waiting to have filters installed in their homes to remove lead, there is still much more that needs to be done to address the long-term effects caused by the appalling negligence that resulted in Flint’s water crisis,” said Cynthia Estrada Charity Fund Chair and UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada. “This new Freedom School will give the children attending a chance to have specialized educational support and teach them about their rights as young citizens.”
Student recruitment efforts are already underway, including outreach to the church’s neighborhood and local Flint elementary schools.
The direct program managers are active and retired educators from Flint Community Schools, including a reading specialist. Six servant interns who are college or university students have been hired to teach, as well as five junior servant leaders who are Flint high school students and will be classroom aides.
Rev. Paul Perez – Director of Mission and Justice Engagement for the Detroit Conference of United Methodist Churches – thanked the Cynthia Estrada Charity Fund for supporting the school, noting that although bottled water and filter delivery are still needed in Flint, those involved understand that this new Freedom School will play an important role in the overall recovery for Flint’s community and children, serving as “the first step in the right direction.”
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