The Freedom Schools are Coming!

Welcome Table, Incorporated (St. James’ non-profit) is proud to announce that our Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® site will begin operations this June at Oak Springs Elementary School. The site will operate from June 16th through July 25th.

CDF Freedom Schools are designed to interrupt the ‘cradle to prison pipeline’ by encouraging young scholars to develop a love of reading. Many of our children, especially in East Austin, are trapped in an educational system that leads them to drop out of school and then choose a life path that includes criminal behavior, which could end with a prison term…or worse. Literacy is the gateway to learning; learning helps us change our circumstances. We must learn to read, and then we can read to learn.

The Freedom Schools movement is centered around an Integrated Reading Curriculum (IRC) that has been in use for 20 years in cities across the nation. College-aged Servant Leader Interns facilitate the IRC, providing reading enrichment that will help prevent the ‘summer slide.’

Welcome Table, Inc believes in promoting holistic development, we have a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) component during the afternoon. On Fridays, the scholars will be taken on field trips that focus on expanding their understanding of the world around them.

For an overview of how the program looks, please take six (6) minutes to watch the video at:

This summer, we will focus our efforts on changing the perspectives of 50 children who have just completed grade levels Kindergarten through 5th. We have ten (10) spots available for children from St. James’ and ten (10) spots for children from the wider Austin area. Thirty (30) spots are reserved for children who currently attend Oak Springs Elementary. We would love your young scholar to participate.

If you do not have a young person to enroll, there are other ways to be involved:

  • Serve as a volunteer during free periods
  • Donate airline miles from United or American airlines to assist with travel for Servant Leader Interns and staff to attend the June training at Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee
  • Tell your friends and neighbors about Freedom Schools…ask them to consider making a tax-deductible monetary donation at
  • Tell us about people and organizations who support early childhood education and enrichment

For more information, please contact Gina Houston at [email protected] or Mila Jackson at [email protected] …or just grab us after a service.

We are very excited to offer this program in Austin for the first time. We look forward to changing the lives of our young people and showing them that theycan make a difference – in Themselves, in their Families, in their Communities, in this Nation, and in the World.

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