Support Trunk or Treat at Norman-Sims Elementary School

Volunteer to support CDF Freedom Schools Austin and friends at Norman-Sims Elementary School PTA’s
first annual Trunk or Treat celebration on
Thursday, October 26, 2023, 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

With the help of friends like Reading Buddies, Salesforce, United Way, and CDF Texas we’re filling 5 “trunks” in the fleet of resources, goodies, and fun. We need your assistance to help make it a successful event for PK-5th grade scholars and their families. 

How you can help:

Sign up to volunteer at Norman-Sims on Oct 26. You can bring:

    1. You and your vehicle to join the fleet of fun (please sign up on the list, we only have space for 5 vehicles)
    2. Your helping hands, creativity, and enthusiasm to make this a fun-filled occasion for 200 pre-K through 5th graders. Our space-themed decorations and goodies celebrate that Reading Is A Blast! We need lots of volunteers!
    3.  Dress up in a theme costume: think astronauts, rockets, planets, galaxy, universe, Hidden Figures, NASA, stars.  (Or dress up in your favorite costume in general. It’s all fun.)
    4. Bring your children and family to the event!

At the sign-up link (, you can also learn about more opportunities to volunteer in our CDF Freedom Schools community, either at specific events, or for special projects and ongoing needs.

Questions? Please contact [email protected]

Rock the Park, Saturday, May 13

Rock the ParkJoin Freedom Schools for a family night out at Rock the Park – KUTX outdoor concert at Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin, TX 78723, featuring SaulPaul 6:45 pm and Classic Hip Hop Live 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 13 (rain date: Saturday, May 20)

(As a past guest during our summer program, SaulPaul is no stranger to CDF Freedom Schools Austin. And Classic Hip Hop Live artist scholar emcee Bavu Blakes will visit us this summer—he has also generously donated copies of his book for our summer 2022 scholars.)

Arrive early at 4:30 pm for a Freedom Schools meetup and playdate before the show. (It’s a great park! We’ll even bring some hip-hop themed books to read.) Bring a blanket or sit on one of ours (chairs aren’t allowed, but you can bring stadium cushions or pillows). We’ll provide some snacks and cold water, but feel free to bring your own picnic basket (coolers are allowed, glass containers and alcohol are not). Food trucks will also be available.

This will be a fun evening in the park, where scholars, and their parents and families, can show off their moves dancing to new and iconic hip hop music.

Volunteers interested in arriving early (around 4pm) to help us set up blankets and snacks, and save space for our families in the park, please let us know. Sign up here.

Community Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by Huston-Tillotson University Ambassadors

Saturday, April 16, 2022, 10 AM
Huston-Tillotson University Campus
900 Chicon St
Austin TX 78702
Enter on Chalmers Avenue.

Fun for the entire family!

Bring your own basket. Age divisions. Candy. Meaning of Easter story time. Prize eggs, including a scholarship prize golden egg. (There are also some prize eggs that allow winners to choose their own book, donated by CDF Freedom Schools Austin.)

Black History Month Kids Day at the Carver Museum

Join Freedom Schools on February 26 at the Carver Museum Freedom Schools’ in the house.

Join us as we introduce author illustrator Don Tate, during the Carver Museum’s Black History Month Kids Day! Saturday, February 26, 11am to 3pm.

We’re excited to drop everything and read a copy of his book Swish: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters.

The event, which features lots of activities for all ages, is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit: Black History Month Kids’ Day! Tickets, Sat, Feb 26, 2022 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite

Joyous Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa kinara and symbolsKwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from December 26 thru January 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.

Like Freedom Schools, St James’ Episcopal Church Austin, and Welcome Table, Inc., Kwanzaa is a story of self-determination. Kwanzaa started during a time when people in the US weren’t allowed to celebrate the traditions or languages or faith of the African diaspora, nor encouraged to learn about our rich and diverse heritage.

Today we uplift the Nguzo Saba, seven principles that represent a guide for daily living studied during Kwanzaa to be practiced throughout the year.

The Greeting

Habari gani? (Swahili for what’s the news) is the official greeting spoken during the 7 days of Kwanzaa. The response is the principle of the day.

Learn More

Click here to learn more about Kwanzaa.

And be sure to visit this blog daily from December 26 to Jan 1, to learn about the Kwanzaa principle of the day.

And please join CDF Freedom Schools Austin at the Carver Museum on Wednesday, December 29, 4 pm – 8:30 pm for the annual Ujamaa Marketplace and Kwanzaa Celebration.

And Sunday, December 26, 11:30 am – 12 pm, join St James’ Episcopal Church and the Union of Black Episcopalians – Myra McDaniel Chapter for the annual Kwanzaa Celebration. Participate in-person (masks required) or online (Zoom).


Freedom Schools Kwanzaa at the Carver Museum

Kwanzaa Kinara DisplayJoin CDF Freedom Schools® Austin as we celebrate family, community, and culture with the Carver Museum and Cultural Center for the annual community Kwanzaa Celebration & Ujamaa Marketplace held on

Wednesday, December 29, 4 pm to 8:30 PM
at the
George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center‎
1165 Angelina St.
Austin, TX 78702

Admission is free and open to the public. Bring the whole family to this intergenerational event!

George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center


Stop by the Freedom Schools booth outside from 4 pm to 6pm to make a free Kwanzaa craft. Shop and explore the Buy Black Vendors’ Outdoor Marketplace. Enter a drawing to win a copy of the book One Hen, a gift from CDF Freedom Schools Austin.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference

Trina RobertsonThen join us for the evening, from 7pm to 8:30 pm program inside Boyd Vance Theatre for the evening Kwanzaa program, featuring  performances and Kwanzaa candle lighting, along with Freedom Schools cheers and chants along with a read aloud, featuring some of our Freedom Schools scholars and our guest reader Trina Robertson (Welcome Table, Inc. board member) reading One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway.


(This Freedom Schools event is supported in part by the Union of Black Episcopalians – Myra McDaniel chapter.)

Join us for CDF Freedom Schools® Austin’s Jazz Harambee Picnic

with musical guest artist Andre Hayward

Saturday, November 13, 2021

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm

This event will be held outdoors in the grove on the grounds of
St James’ Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Rd, Austin TX.

Let us know that your family is attending the Jazz Harambee.

RSVP here:

When you RSVP by November 4th, you can also enter to win Jazz at St James’ concert tickets.

See friends, old and new at this special jazz themed event with read aloud guest Melody Fullylove (reading Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, a picture book inspired by American jazz trombonist, arranger, and composer Melba Liston), along with some of our favorite Freedom Schools cheers and chants, recognitions, and mini-concert and demonstration by professional musician, trombonist Andre Hayward (who is also performing during Jazz at St James)

Free! Bring the whole family and bring a friend.

(In case of rain or cold weather location will be indoors in Founders’ Hall at St James’ which has plenty of room for Covid safe distancing. Masks required when indoors.)

Here’s the link to RSVP:

We look forward to seeing you, your family and friends at the Jazz Harambee on Saturday, November 13, 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM

CDF Freedom Schools Austin Summer 2021 Scholar Recruitment

Summer 2021 Program Scholar Recruitment Information

Sign up today for our free in-person or virtual summer school!

  • Who: Scholars entering 1st – 6th grade in the fall of 2021
  • Where: Pecan Springs Elementary and Online
  • Dates: June 14th – July 23rd (closed July 5th everyone virtual July 6th – 9th)
  • Times: Monday to Friday
    • In-person (8:00 am – 3:00 pm)
    • Virtual (8:30 am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 3:00pm)
  • Cost: Free! Limited spaces are available. First come, first served.
  • How: Contact Mila Jackson (512.350.8139)
    [email protected] or [email protected]


  • You may choose In-person or Virtual Programming!
  • Scholars gain months in reading levels!
  • Scholars learn they can make a difference!
  • Increased interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)
  • Free Breakfast, Lunch and Snack
  • Virtual field trips
  • Kids have tons of fun, and fall in love with learning!
  • Parents and teachers see the difference in scholars’ skills, behaviors, cultural identity pride and levels of confidence!

Your child is welcome to apply if they:

  • are NOT in the Andy Roddick Eagles Summer Program
  • speak and read English (multi-lingual families welcome)
  • have just completed K-5th grade
  • receive 4s, 3s, and 2s for conduct on their report card
  • are able to attend some the opening and closing weeks (June 14-18 and July 19-23) and only miss a few days during the summer

CDF Freedom Schools® Austin is brought to you by Welcome Table, Inc. using the proven model developed by the Children’s Defense Fund.

You can also download a printable PDF of this 2021 scholar recruitment information flyer here