Purdue CDF Freedom School Program 

Reading, Empowering, Succeeding

Program Overview

The Purdue CDF Freedom School Program will open for the first time in West Lafayette in the Summer of 2023. Freedom School is a free six-week, literacy-based summer program for students in grades K-3. The mornings are dedicated to the integrated reading curriculum and afternoons consist of various activities including STEM engagement, field trips, and social action activities. Freedom School encourages a love of reading and learning through a culturally diverse curriculum. The Integrated Reading Curriculum affirms our scholars with engaging literature and exposure to the broader community. We hire college-aged students to teach and mentor our scholars in classrooms with a 1:10 teacher to student ratio. During the six weeks, we also encourage the parents of our scholars to be engaged in their child’s learning through parent empowerment sessions in the summer and multiple volunteer opportunities. 


The mission of the Purdue CDF Freedom School Program: Purdue University program is to expand the work and legacy of the CDF Freedom Schools® program to empower communities and develop future leaders by promoting literacy and civil engagement.  

Enrollment for summer 2023 is now closed. Please check back in Summer 2024

Enrollment Interest Form

About CDF Freedom School

The CDF Freedom Schools® program has its origins in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964, which brought college students from around the country to Mississippi to secure justice and voting rights for Black citizens. These early Freedom Schools aimed at keeping Black children and youth safe and giving them rich educational experiences that were not offered in Mississippi’s public schools. In a variety of makeshift settings, college student volunteers provided instruction in reading, writing, humanities, mathematics, and science along with subjects not taught in Mississippi public schools, such as Black history and constitutional rights. All of their instruction was tailored to encourage children and youth to become independent thinkers, problem solvers, and agents of change in their own communities.

Visit the National Website

Our Staff

Breanya Hogue

Founder, Purdue CDF Freedom School Program

Principal Investigator,

Assistant Professor of Literacy and Language Education,
Purdue University College of Education 

Contact: bhogue@purdue.edu

Dr. Christy Wessel-Powell Portrait

Dr. Christy Wessel-Powell

Center Director
Center for Literacy and Language Education and Research (CL2EAR),

Assistant Professor of Literacy and Language Education, Purdue University College of Education

Contact: cwesselp@purdue.edu

Duane Carlisle

Executive Director, Purdue CDF Freedom School Program, Lead Pastor of First United Methodist Church

Contact: DCarlisle@fumcwl.org

Rose Mbewe

Site Coordinator
Fourth Year PhD Student in Mathematics Education

“I am looking forward to seeing equity and harambee being rolled out in our site”

Ann Kriebel

Site Coordinator
Teacher, Third Grade

“I am looking forward to planning activities that make books come alive for our Scholars!”

Mari Pickard-Carlisle

Servant Leader Intern, Level 2
Junior in Elementary Education 

“I am looking forward to getting to know my students and watch them grow in both their education and as people.”

Eleanor Ruth Robyne

Servant Leader Intern (Floater)
Senior in Elementary Education (Reading Concentration)

“I am looking forward to watching the students gain confidence academically and as individuals throughout this program!”

Haelim (Emily) Wee

Servant Leader Intern, Level 1
Purdue ’22 Alum in Elementary Education 

“I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Summer for national training and meeting young learners. I believe that young learners and I will learn and grow.”

Emma Nicole Jacobs

Servant Leader Intern, Level 1
Senior in Elementary Education (Reading Concentration)

“I am looking forward to growing the minds of my students this summer!”

Schoolgirl sitting with her teacher in class.


Be part of this powerful change movement by becoming a volunteer. We invite you to discover why so many community members want to be part of Purdue CDF Freedom Schools Program partners!  

Purdue CDF Freedom Schools Program partners welcomes volunteers aged 16 and up, as well as younger helpers when accompanied by a parent. If you have any questions about volunteering, please email PurdueFreedomSchools@purdue.edu.  

Sign up to be a volunteer.
Young students reading books while sitting on floor.

Read Aloud

Each morning we invite community members to our site to serve as a Read Aloud guest during our morning activity: Harambee.

During the CDF Freedom School Day, Harambee is a time of informal sharing when children and staff come together to celebrate themselves and each other. It energizes both students and staff and creates a positive atmosphere.

The purpose of Read Aloud is to show our scholars how reading is an integral part of all professions, so be prepared to talk about how important reading is for your job. We ask that guests arrive by 8:15 am. Harambee ends at 9:00 am

Read Aloud Sign-Up
Children sitting on the ground reading.


​Enrolling your student is free. We operate on grants and donations, so you won’t have to pay a thing to ensure your child is set up with literacy tools for the future.  

If you’re able, please consider supporting Greater Lafayette children by donating to Freedom School: Purdue University.  

Freedom School: Purdue University provides a critical, quality summer learning program that maintains and improves students’ reading comprehension over the summer months. This program will increase your child’s literacy skills, encourage and develop character strengths, and provide a supportive community that believes in their successful future. 

To register your child(ren) go to the Interest Form and complete it. We will contact you as soon as we can to let you know that your child has been enrolled.  

We welcome any volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us.  

Our organization is funded by donations and grants from key partners, parents, and community members.

If you’re able, please consider supporting Greater Lafayette children by donating to Freedom School: Purdue University. 

Contact Us

If you have questions, please reach out to us. Fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.