The Young Scholar in the photo above checks out the books in his classroom while his Mom enrolls him in Freedom School.

Intern leaders: Sydnee Matthews (Level 2), Raekwon Cave (Level 2) and Sativa Jones (Level 1).

Freedom school starts today!

By Tony Weston
Project Director
Koinonia of Columbia

The countdown is at ZERO. Koinonia’s Inaugural Freedom School is being launched today, Monday, June 21, for 30 elementary school-aged scholars in the Eau Claire neighborhood of Columbia.

Freedom Schools originated from the sit-in civil rights movements in 1964, spearheaded by Ella Baker who was instrumental in supporting cultural literacy and cultural history from the African culture to African American children.

In 1995, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) headed by Marian Wright Edelman began sponsoring Freedom School sites that further built upon literacy and cultural improvements that are relevant to African American children and their families.

The importance of Freedom Schools for African American youth in the 29203 zip code area of Columbia is of extreme importance. Our  children should be empowered with cultural books that provide a strong sense of heritage and pride within themselves.

Freedom Schools do just that. By connecting our youth with cultural readings and poems, they empower and allow the children to identify with characters that resemble them and provide them with a true love for self and reading.

We believe that this cultural curriculum will spark and ignite a wonderful zest for learning within our children. With your support, Koinonia of Columbia and the Inaugural Freedom School will be a true success for the community of 29203 that will continue to be built upon for years to come.

Themes of the three reading classrooms

Nail Salon


Enchanted Forest

Planning for Freedom School has been going on for months—now it’s here

From Kelly Strum
Koinonia Director

Koinonia of Columbia is so excited to launch our first Freedom School on Monday, June 21!  We are one of at least 200 sites across America.

For months, we have been busy hiring Freedom School leaders, enrolling our elementary-school scholars and preparing for this 6-week summer intensive.

We at Koinonia cannot think of a better time than NOW to host this culturally competent, literacy-rich reading program!

Thank you, thank you, CBFSC for partnering with us during this pivotal time for Koinonia and the Eau Claire community as GOD continues to lead us forward in God’s Dream of Beloved Community.

Kelly is the former Co-Pastor of Eau Claire Baptist Church in Columbia. She has a master of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and masters in education in elementary school counseling from USC.

The entire staff of Koinonia of Columbia’s first Freedom School.

Koinonia’s First Freedom School is being held in the same year that Eau Claire Baptist Church—the home of Koinonia—celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Metanoia, another one of our long-standing mission partners, has offered Freedom School for the past several summers and has reported to us every year on the value this program brings to its students and their community in North Charleston.