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Center for Leadership and Justice: Adventures in the City Freedom School

47 Vine Street, Hartford, CT


  • Academic Enrichment
  • Art
  • Dance
  • Educational Activities
  • Environmental Learning
  • Field Trips
  • Horseback Riding
  • Recreational Swimming

Ages Served:

3–10 years old

Areas Served:


Program Length:

5–6 weeks (1-week sessions)

Start Date:

July 5, 2022 (first session)

End Date:

August 12, 2022 (last session)

Hours of Operation:

8:00 am–4:00 pm


Free - Participants are required to attend the program in its entirety

Adventures in the City Freedom School has certifications for CPR/First Aid.

More about our camp:

CLJ has offered its Adventures in the City summer programing for over 3 decades. Five years ago we partnered with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) to transform this program into a Freedom school. Since the first summer it was offered enrollment has increased. Previous years we have grown from 75 kids to 100, demonstrating the great need in the community. Freedom school is a national summer program that utilizes a multicultural curriculum to support children and families through five essential components: 1) high quality literacy and character building enrichment, 2) parent and family involvement, 3) civic engagement and social action, 4) intergenerational servant leadership development, and 5) nutrition and health. All academic materials, including books, are provided by the CDF. The books used during the summer are kept by the children and go towards building their home library.

The freedom school program is unique in that it 1) uses culturally relevant materials, lesson plans and books and 2) is staffed by college interns who not only have a passion for urban education and community service, but who also come from the the same community and neighborhoods as the students they are serving. These interns, known as servant leaders, go through an intensive week-long training in Tennessee on program implementation led by CDF staff.

National research shows that low-income students are at risk to lose two to three months of reading ability during the summer. This loss is cumulative and, as a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college. However, according to our assessments in 2019, 94% of our students maintained or gained in instructional reading levels and did not experience summer learning loss. Additionally, surveys completed by 20 percent of the students showed positive changes in their attitudes and character skills. Students valued school and education, were ready to participate in social action, and developed positive ethnic identity after participation in the CDF Freedom Schools program. Moreover, parents not only perceived positive changes in their child including interest and confidence in: reading, knowledge about his/her culture, and social problem solving skills; but also perceived that their parenting skills had improved.

Adventures in the City Freedom School is Special Needs Accessible.