"Before the Fellowship, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do in life. I had decided on a 9-5 and didn't think much of it. My commitment to social justice has been found and renewed a hundred times over becuase of the fellowship."
By providing a safe space where young people can explore their identities, examine the root causes of oppression, and gain exposure to histories of social movements, CFS helps youth become effective agents of change in their lives and in their communities.
By the Numbers
Since 2007, CFS has...
- Provided paid fellowships to 254 young people of color ages 14-17 through the Freedom Fellowship
- Engaged over 3000 youth and adults in educational programs on social movement history and lessons for today
- Trained 4,800 teachers, social workers, organizers and youth development professionals in best practices for strengthening youth-led social change
- Served as a leading partner organization with the Education for Liberation Network to organize two 500-person Free Minds Free People conferences on liberatory education and movement-building practices.
- Trained over 100 youth workers from 20 cities across the country during our bi-annual "Rev Up" training on best practices for youth-led organizing.
Providing skills and knowledge to be effective change agents
- 93% know how to build a campaign address a mutual issue of concern (vs. 46% pre-program)
- 86% have spoken to others about a social justice issues of concern (vs 38% pre-program)
- 93% feel confident to facilitate a training on an issue they care about (vs. 69% pre-program)
"Working with my cohort has led me to see how much of a purpose I can have."
- CFS Alum
Building strong commitment to social justice now and in the future
- 84% believe or strongly believe that they can create change in their neighborhoods (vs. 53% pre-fellowship)
- 92% of alumni from 2007-2012 continue to believe that they have a responsibility to advocate for social justice
- 81% of CFS Alumni have volunteered in the past 12 months, compared to 36% nationally
- 48% of CFS Alumni have actively participated in at least one group, compared to 20% nationally
- 55% of CFS Alumni have voted regularly, compared to 26% nationally
"After this I will be able to lead things like this, raise awareness about social issues and other people’s concerns.”
- CFS Alum
Don't just take our word for it...
CFS is very grateful for the following external studies that have been conducted about the Freedom Fellowship. Please contact CFS for full copies of any of the reports listed below.
- Freedom Fellowship Program Assessment (2007) by the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University
- McKay, C. (2008) Youth Activism and Resiliency: Is there a correlation for urban youth?
- McKay, C. (2011) The Resilient Community: Implications for Out of School Programming. Child Adolescent Social Work. 28: 357-373.
"Chicago Freedom School is an exemplar of a resilient community...The charge for social workers and other adult allies working within out-of-school settings is to support youth's desire to "make change in the world" by adopting characteristics of a resilient community."