It is with much enthusiasm and excitement that I share with you that there is a real possibility that a Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools Site (www.childrensdefense.org) might happen again this summer in Beaumont! As you may already be aware, IEA – Inspire, Encourage, Achieve – enhanced its Camp Bright Star Program by incorporating the CDF Freedom Schools model, which added a high quality reading component to the organization’s efforts.
Having sponsored a CDF Freedom Schools for the past two years, IEA was able to create empowering summer experiences through Camp Bright Star for over 100 youth. Generous community support and meaningful in-kind contributions allowed IEA to leverage its funding to the extent that there were not any fees associated with enrollment. IEA wrote grants and secured sponsors to cover operating expenses, salaries and other program costs.
Unfortunately, due to the economic climate over the past year, IEA - like many other non-profit organizations - had to make some difficult decisions about its future service-delivery. Therefore, IEA began facilitating communication with several non-profit organizations during and shortly after Camp Bright Star CDF Freedom Schools Program for the purpose of identifying a 2011 CDF Freedom Schools sponsor.
Since there has not been one organization that has had the ability to underwrite the entire cost of a CDF Freedom Schools Program, Brandi Brown of CDF Texas has provided technical support for the Southeast Texas Region to assist in creating a strategy that might still afford children in our community the opportunity to participate in this empowering summer program.
If enough community interest can be secured, a CDF Freedom Schools Program will be made possible for a third year in Beaumont (with the inclusion of Port Arthur and mid-county youth – just as IEA has done for the past seven years with Camp Bright Star). The anticipated host organization is Wallip Academy in collaboration with The Melton Center, an outreach facility associated with Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.
For more information, please plan to attend an interest meeting on Thursday, April 28 at 6p.m. at the Melton Center – located at 3455 Sarah St. in Beaumont. Parents who would like their children to participate as well as college students who are interested in serving as interns are invited to attend.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and continued support of Southeast Texas youth!