Crossroads News

Crossroads Designated a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School Site

Equity & Justice Institute to host 50 students from Pico neighborhood, beginning summer 2021.
Crossroads been designated as a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School® site, beginning in the summer of 2021. Hosted by the Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute, this six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program will be available for 50 students and their families from the Pico neighborhood, the most diverse and under-resourced community in the city of Santa Monica.

“At Crossroads, we embrace a fundamental commitment to civic engagement within the School’s surrounding community, focused on social and economic equity, racial diversity and academic excellence,” says Equity & Justice Institute Founding Director Derric J. Johnson. “It’s with this intention that the Equity & Justice Institute will be partnering with our neighbors and community partners on the Freedom School program over the next three years to impact academic achievement and address summer learning loss for the young people who live in our community, particularly those from historically disenfranchised student groups.”

Rooted in the Mississippi Freedom Summer project of 1964, the CDF Freedom Schools program serves children and youth in grades K-12 in communities where quality academic enrichment programming is limited, too expensive or nonexistent. 

The Equity & Justice Institute CDF Freedom School program will offer a research-based and multicultural curriculum that supports children and families through high-quality literacy and character-building activities; parent/family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational servant leadership development; and nutrition and health. Participants will receive weekly distributions of books to build their home libraries and strengthen the literacy skills that are crucial to future success. 

In partnership with Santa Monica College and Virginia Avenue Park, the program will be offered at no cost to participants. It is supported, in part, through a generous donation from funding partner Pacific Western Bank, which will also offer free financial literacy training for families in the program. 

“It is an honor to be designated as a Freedom School site,” says Head of School Bob Riddle. “This distinction serves to reinforce the founding vision of Crossroads as an active participant in society, contributing to the social, emotional and educational well-being of our communities.”