Featured Scholar: Leslie Etienne, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate Professor, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts
Research Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmpyjQN7M14
A Summer of Service, A Lifetime of Commitment: Developing Freedom School Interns as Community-Engaged Scholars
Indianapolis Freedom School Partnership (IFSP) is a not-for-profit, community organization that works to expand the impact and legacy of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools to dismantle patterns of socio-economic deprivation and empower communities by promoting literacy, fostering civic engagement, and developing future leaders. Drs. Etienne and Jackson will be mentoring Servant Leader Interns (SLIs) to collect information and feedback from IFSP participants and families on how they would like to tell their story of impact, and then invite them to participate in the process.
The CDF Freedom Schools program is rooted in the American Civil Rights Movement and the courageous efforts of college-age youth to make a difference. Reborn in 1993 by Marian Wright Edelman, today’s CDF Freedom Schools model draws on the vision, philosophy and experience of those who conducted Freedom Schools as part of the 1964 “Mississippi Freedom Summer Project.” In partnership with local churches, schools, colleges and universities, and community organizations, the CDF Freedom Schools program connects the complex needs of children and families to rich community resources. The CDF Freedom Schools program is designed to serve children and young adults in communities where quality academic enrichment programming is limited, cost-prohibitive, or non-existent. The program is free for children; no child is denied participation due to low socioeconomic circumstances.
The IUPUI Freedom School is a 6-week summer literacy and civic engagement program for 50 elementary students in Indianapolis Public Schools. The program supports children and young adults to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in their families, schools, communities, country, and world with hope, education and action.
The Bantz award will support hiring six SLIs who will participate in various inquiry-related activities of the program; discussions and research activities about students, families and community stakeholders’ making meaning of their experiences; and improve communication about the program by telling the story of its impact.
One of the key aspects of this program is growing the SLIs’ capacity to be responsible researchers and enable them to see how research can be a powerful tool for community program sustainability. The SLIs will be mentored by Drs. Etienne and Jackson and will have the opportunity to receive training as well as share their experience at multiple campus and community events.