“Got hope! Got hope! Got Freedom, Got Love, Got Hope!” scholars chanted everyday, forging the first high school CDF Freedom Schools® in Washington State at Rainier Beach High School. Serving as a Servant Leader Intern, I both facilitated and experienced an encouraging, fun and impacting curriculum critical to my own growth as well as the growth of the scholars.
A typical morning began with 60 scholars gathering in the band room for Harambee, setting the culture for the day as well as the program. Freedom Schools’ culture fosters positivity and encourages the understanding of ethnic identity, a value for reading, an understanding of history, a keen hunger for justice and resilience for change in our society. I personally was revitalized and strengthened as an African American male through this curriculum and books we read that built confidence in understanding our identity, cultures and languages. The summer curriculum also engaged high schoolers in discussions about current issues and how they can make a difference in their world. During the Day of Social Action, scholars learned about advocacy and used their own voices to not only hope for change but to actually make change in their community. Led by Junior Servant Leader Interns, the scholars walked a mile and a half from Seattle Public Schools to Seattle City Hall calling for funding of equitable transportation for public school students.
A highlight for me this summer was working with a student, Daniel* who said to me, “Why do you always expect so much out of me? You are always pushing me. I’m just a dumb slow kid.” I said to him, “Daniel, you are valuable and truly intelligent.” Later he came and said he values the words I said to him and knows he is capable of great endeavors in the future. We started this summer proclaiming, “got hope!” and I can say the scholars are recognizing their potential and are striving to walk with freedom, love and, hope.
*Name changed to protect privacy
Tymon Haskins is the Homework Center Coordinator at Rainier Beach High School and served as a Freedom Schools Servant Leader Intern. Pictured with Freedom Schools books Slam and The Freedom Riders.
See pictures from the Day of Social Action