Generational transformation. As the events over the past few years have left an indelible mark on our souls, we find ourselves asking, “How can I make a difference?” All a person has to do is turn on the television or social media to find news of another shooting, mass-murder, or brutal and senseless suffering of a human being. When is enough, enough. Is there anything one person can do to help bring God’s light to a suffering world?
When I think back on the events of last year, many memories stand out including vacations, successes, personal triumphs, and accomplishments. To me, the most rewarding experience from 2022 was serving and impacting the lives of scholars through volunteering with Freedom School at St. Luke’s. It is hard to top 100 scholars vibrantly singing the words of Freedom School’s theme song, Something Inside So Strong, by Labi Siffre.
The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become…
The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing…
My light will shine so brightly
It will blind you…
During these trying times, bringing hope and understanding are powerful gifts. The ability to stand beside our brothers and sisters united in voice, but even more importantly through our actions, and affirm we are with you. In this moment in time, our actions are speaking volumes, as people are searching for hope and to be a part of a community that is “with them, for them, and beside them.” During Freedom School 2022, I witnessed unity, oneness, empowerment, and self-esteem. It was fuel for my soul as I know an investment was made and seeds were planted.
Seeds of Equality and Empowerment – Scholars heard they were cherished, valued, and to aim and dream higher!
Seeds of Learning – Scholars learned a love of reading as they discovered books that celebrate the cultures and contributions of people of color.
Seeds of Love – Scholars felt an acknowledgement of our shared history and the love of a community around them, supporting and cheer them on.
Seeds of Faith – Scholars heard they matter. At St. Luke’s they are welcomed with open arms, celebrated for who they are, and included for being the person that God made them to be.
What is Freedom School?
In school districts across the country, summer vacation creates an extra challenge for children and educators when school resumes in the fall. According to the Northwest Evaluation Association, students in grades 3 through 8 will lose between 32-75% of their gains achieved in reading from the previous school year.
Freedom School is a six-week summer program with goals to increase literacy, self-esteem, socio-emotional skills, and a love of learning for children in grades K-8. The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School’s mission is to foster environments that support children and young adults (known as “scholars”) to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in their families, schools, communities, country, and world with hope, education, and action.
Call-Out for Volunteers
As we prepare to launch Freedom School on Tuesday, June 20 through Friday, July 28, we need YOU to help impact the lives of these scholars. Each of us can make this a summer to remember through the giving of your time, talents, and treasures.
This year, we need the following team members:
Kitchen staff – preparing and serving meals.
- Classroom Support – working alongside Servant Leader Interns (SLI’s) to help carry out classroom activities and discussions, while inspiring a love for reading.
- Afternoon Activity Hosts – assisting with sports, music, and art activities.
- Help with Administrative items – welcoming Scholars, preparing and assisting with volunteer sign-ups, or overseeing communications to volunteers.
- Or supporting the Freedom School’s mission through the gift of your financial resources. GIVE HERE NOW
Through the gifts of our time, talents, and treasurers we are changing the trajectory of children’s lives, one scholar at a time, through our caring. As Freedom School’s mission grows throughout our world, transformational and generational change will happen. Scholars will see each other through possibility, instead of impossibility; ability, instead of inability; hope, instead of hopelessness; and justice, instead of injustice.
Let us be “the one” who stands up this year and says, “It begins with me.” As I saw God take our seeds of faith and investments of time last year and multiply them. All it took was for us to say, “Yes” to living out our calling to share God’s love in action. As Paul shares in 2 Corinthians 9:10-15 “Now He who supplies seed to the Sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
We invite you to be a part of St. Luke’s Freedom School 2023. Call-out meetings for volunteers are happening now. Please join us at our Indy North campus in Room N101/102.
- Sunday, February 26th at 12:15pm
- Wednesday, March 1st at 6:30pm
Or contact Seema Mernitz via email
. Let us make this a summer that shines God’s light brightly for all to see.
For His Glory,
Jody L. Dedon
St. Luke’s Blogger
Author, Silent No More
Jody L. Dedon, Blogger and Author of Silent No More