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The Freedom Fellowship


A SEVEN-YEAR COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

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The Freedom Fellowship


A SEVEN-YEAR COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

Freedom Fellows begin the fellowship the summer before their SIXTH grade year.

For the next four summers, and seven academic years, they engage in programming that expands their minds, their bodies, and their aspirations. For each Freedom Fellow, this journey is about empowerment to become leaders with choices for the future.

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Character Development


Character Development


Before joining the Freedom Project, students and parents must sign a Commitment to LEAD in which they pledge to uphold the four LEAD principles that underlie all Freedom Project activities. These principles apply to the organization’s staff and leadership as well. 


LOVE

We build long-term, caring relationships with our students because we believe that they are valuable human beings with tremendous potential who deserve the same educational opportunities as any other children in America.

EDUCATION

We challenge students with rigorous academic activities because we believe that they can achieve at high levels and that genuine academic achievement will open opportunities for them in the future. 

ACTION

We encourage students to act to make the world a better place because we believe that individual achievement without social responsibility can undermine communities and is a tragic waste of potential. 

DISCIPLINE

We emphasize personal responsibility and self-discipline because we believe that developing strong character is the highest achievement. 

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Freedom Summer


Freedom Summer


The Path to empowered choices Starts Here.


Freedom Summer is where it all begins. We bring in top college students from across the country to lead our students for eight weeks in reading, writing, math, the arts, physical fitness, leadership, educational travel, and of course, lots of downright fun.

Each Summer Includes:

  • 5 weeks of daily programming at our LEAD Center in Meridian
  • 1 camping trip for each grade level
  • 1 week of college immersion on a college campus

The First 5 Weeks Include: 

  • We are at the LEAD Center in Meridian Monday – Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • In the mornings, Freedom Fellows engage in challenging reading, rhetoric, and math courses with their college interns.
  • In the afternoons, Freedom Fellows participate in fitness, arts classes, and extra study time.
  • We end this time with Freedom Day  – a day to celebrate our accomplishments!

Each July, We Make the World our Classroom:

  • In our summer reading classes, students read about various historical events and locations throughout the south that are significant to the Civil Rights movement.  In the month of July, our students travel on camping trips all over the south to those places to enrich their experience with their novels. In the past, our Freedom Fellows have traveled to Jackson, Selma, Birmingham, Memphis, and Little Rock.
  • As a capstone experience to complete the Freedom Summer experience, we spend a week on a collage campus, taking classes, living in dorms, meeting professors and students, learning about the college application and enrollment process, and of course, having TONS of fun. 
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Academic Support


Academic Support


Education is the seed of Freedom

This is what matters to us most. Our students receive academic support because our fundamental mission is to empower each student with the skills to become a leader. 

Freedom Fellows receive help finishing homework, completing projects, and studying for tests during study sessions four nights per week.  Each week, Freedom Fellows participate in Novel Studies, where they have the opportunity to question, wonder, and explore the world tin small-group discussions about the texts they read.  Most recently, Freedom Fellows have read Speak, Monster, The Silence of our Friends, and The Color of Bones

During Freedom Summer, Fellows complete five weeks of core academic classes designed to prepare them for the next grade. These classes are taught by college interns who receive extensive training and support from our staff. Students take math, language arts, and rhetoric classes.

The Freedom Project is not designed to merely “keep young people off the streets.” Our rigorous focus on academics ensures that students not only succeed in their local schools, but are able to compete with their peers nationwide.  

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Arts Enrichment


Arts Enrichment


We believe the arts are a powerful way to share the history of the civil rights movement as well as express ideas for action and change.  We engage our students in the arts through drama, music, visual arts, creative writing, dance, and more.

In 2014, the Meridian Freedom Project’s Drama Troupe proudly staged our first production, “Waiting on the World to Change.” This was an original play inspired by Freedom Fellow reflections on their community and written by MFP Program Director Asha el-Shair. 

Since then, Freedom Fellows have performed additional original plays: "Who Am I?" and "Happy Arbor Day," a featured performance at the City of Meridian's 2015 Arbor Day celebration.

Freedom Fellows have also had the opportunity to travel with the Sunflower County Freedom Project’s award-winning drama troupe.  In March of 2014, three Freedom Fellows performed Margaret Walker's "For My People" as the opening act for the SCFP's Drama Troupe for audiences in Houston, Dallas, and Austin, Texas.

And of course, Freedom Fellows also take advantage of the rich creative opportunities around them.  In June of 2015, Freedom Fellows participated in the Highway 80 Songwriters Festival Songwriting Workshop, where they wrote an original song.  Freedom Fellows have also traveled to attend plays and concerts at the Riley Center, Meridian Community College, and Jackson State University. 

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Educational Travel


Educational Travel


Each year is jam-packed with educational travel opportunities.  

Throughout the summer and school year, Freedom Fellows are on the road.  Each summer, Freedom Fellows travel to a college campus for a college immersion week and participate in one of our three camping trips for hands-on history and outdoor fun. 

During the school year, Freedom Fellows travel with the Freedom Project during Spring Break to North Carolina, during Fall Break to Atlanta, and participate in gender-specific weekend retreats, as well as day trips to a variety of places like the B.B. King Museum, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, and the Natural History Museum and Medgar Evers Home in Jackson. 

We know that exposing our students to as many different people, places, cultures, and experiences is a key part of their growth into socially conscious young leaders. 

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Health Training


We believe that healthy minds and healthy bodies go hand-in-hand.

Health Training


We believe that healthy minds and healthy bodies go hand-in-hand.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, in Laudredale County:

  • 34% of adults are obese
  • 30% are physically inactive

Through a partnership with our friends at Go Green, Meridian, we have built an urban container garden in the parking lot behind the LEAD Center. This garden serves as a hands-on learning platform to build awareness and change the food habits of our Freedom Fellows for the better.  

Aside from developing a love for fresh, tasty, local food, we get our Freedom Fellows up and moving!  Our students participate in a variety of fitness opportunities ranging from Yoga to Taekwondo.  Whether it's capture the flag or circuit training, the goal’s the same: to sweat and have fun!