Freedom School

Launched in 2016, The Riverside Freedom School is committed to providing an excellent summer experience to the young scholars of our community at absolutely no cost to participants. Because of the generosity of Riverside community members, children have access to superb literacy and social justice curriculum for six weeks over the summer.

Meet the Freedom School Scholars

Scientific Engineers & Artist Artists

Moments That Make Me Smile

Everyone Is Friends

2020 Update

Virtual Freedom School Starts July 6 

While Freedom Schools have completely cancelled programming across New York City and the country, the Riverside Church has committed to providing our families with a virtual experience to maintain our relationship with our young scholars and help to make summer 2020 a summer of learning. Our Education Ministry team will be providing several hours of Harambe, literacy, and social justice curriculum each week through the month of July and into August, using online platforms to bring the spirit of Freedom School alive. For more information, please email Amanda Meisenheimer.

The Riverside Freedom School

Riverside’s Freedom School offers scholars:

*Personalized academic coaching utilizing Children’s Defense Fund reading enrichment modules.
*Support and love from a host of inter-generational camp mentors.
*Two nutritious means and a snack every day.
*Daily fun afternoon activities promoting learning and physical activities like swimming, visiting the Liberty Science Center, the Rose Center for Earth & Space, The Schwartzman Library, The American Museum of Natural History, and more.

Freedom School curriculum is rooted in the Civil Rights Movement and based on the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964, organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools program was created in 1995 and has since served more than 135,000 scholars.

Based on a Philliber Research Associates evaluation of the Freedom School program, scholars who attend Freedom School programs score significantly higher on standardized reading achievement tests than children who attend other summer enrichment programs. African American middle school boys made the greatest gains of all.

Register for the 2020 Riverside Freedom School

Volunteer with the 2020 Freedom School

Breakfast & Lunch Volunteers

2020 Freedom School has gone virtual

Join the Freedom School team as we provide a healthy breakfast and lunch to the Freedom School scholars.

Contact Lennith Santos-Santana to find out more about volunteering with the Riverside Freedom School

Donate to Riverside Freedom School

Changing kids’ lives through the power of Reading! Your Gift Matters.

How Far Does Your Gift Go?

Your support provides on-going resources that prepare our scholars for the summer.

  • $100 buys 15 books for one classroom.
  • $500 supports an afternoon activity for 60 scholars.
  • $1,000 funds a field trip on a school bus to a museum.
  • $3,000 funds 6-weeks of swimming at an Olympic-sized pool.
  • $5,000 secures classroom supplies for the 6-week program.
  • $5,000 funds healthy breakfasts and lunches for 60 scholars for six weeks.
  • $10,000 funds travel expenses for 7 staffers to CDF Freedom School training.


For more ways to help, please email Amanda Meisenheimer today.