Delivering a proven strategy to lower the high school dropout rates, improve post-secondary education and career opportunities, and quality academic enrichment. 

Key features of the program are: 

  • Enhances children’s motivation to read and generates positive attitudes toward learning, while connecting the needs of children and families to appropriate resources in their communities. 

  • Helps lower the local high school drop out rate in Camden.

  • Research tells us that low-income children typically lose 2-3 months of learning during the summer. 

  • But 90% of children gain or maintain reading ability during a Children's Defense Fund Freedom School.

  • We are a STEAM learning site, where we integrate science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics for greater impact. 

1000 Atlantic Avenue (Virtua Healthcare Complex), Camden, New Jersey

Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools Lower high school dropout rate, improve post-secondary education chances and quality academic enrichment. 


Gateway to success
Literacy is the gateway skill that students need to be successful in school; low literacy levels translate into poor grades, grade repetition, and eventual disengagement from school.

The Integrated Reading Curriculum is an activity-oriented curriculum that is used during classroom time with Servant Leader Interns and 10 Camden Dream CDF Freedom School students. During this time, the children are introduced to new books and characters, engaging in group discussions, participating in cooperative-group activities, and learning more about conflict-resolution and social action.

D.E.A.R.Time, is an acronym that stands for Drop Everything And Read. 

D.E.A.R. time is a time when students, staff, and visitors select a recreational or resource book from the site library and read silently for 15 minutes.Students are able to select the book of their choice, read freely on the floor,or even read with the Servant Leader Intern.


Activities allow the children to continue in educationally enriching activities in a variety of ways. These activities are extensions from the Integrated Reading Curriculum and may engage the students in drama, art, music, dance, or other culturally enriching activities.  At the Camden Dream CDF Freedom School we are a STEAM based site and engage our children in science experiments and projects such as the building of robotics, studying botany and planting seeds, astronomy, computer technology/engineering group work, math, art and musicology.

-Field trips may also serve as an afternoon activity. Afternoon Activities require advanced planning and preparation. All activities must be age appropriate. All trips that the Camden Dream CDF Freedom School has taken reiterates the thematics of STEAM.