CHICAGO FREEDOM SCHOOL

Rating: 4.85 stars   26 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 719 S State St Ste 3N Chicago IL 60605 USA

Mission: The mission of the Chicago Freedom School (CFS) is to create new generations of independent thinking young people who use their unique experiences and power to create a just world. Our vision is in the spirit of the original freedom schools in Mississippi in the 1960s, with CFS serving as a catalyst for young people across Chicago to discover their own power to make change – not only for themselves, but also for their communities and the world.
Results: All of our organizational resources are allocated to support the leadership development of marginalized young people. Over 90% of Freedom Fellowship participants and alumni at the Chicago Freedom School are from low-income neighborhoods and 100% of them identify as people of color. Adult allies trained at CFS include professional youth organizers, public and private school educators, program directors at houses of workshop, and social service providers.
Programs: CFS provides training and education opportunities for youth and adult allies to develop leadership skills through the lens of civic action and through the study of the history of social movements and their leaders.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 20-4735643
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Chicago Freedom School Has changed my life and the way I view things in such a positive way. It gave me the chance to build good relationship with adults that I would usually have with my parents only. Here I feel safe. Here at Chicago Freedom School the world is mine to bring peace to. I have done many things that a youth without the chance wouldn't do such as The Freedom Rides, learning about oppression. I'm truly thank that i was involved and still am because I don't know where I would be. There is no event or emotion I regret.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have personally experienced the results of this organization to become a better person and to pass on the knowledge I have gained.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

if i had to make changes i would give it a bigger location and have more money.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

i was a 2009 freedom fellow at the Chicago freedom school, and now i am part of the youth leadership board. i was a very extremely shy person afraid of speaking up for what i believed in, and after taking part of this my views of the world have changed. i am no longer afraid of speaking my mind and saying whats right. i have conducted teen dating violence workshops to about 250 youth, and plan to do it this year again, the old me before this great opportunity would never in a million years thought i would be doing this. I have learned so much thanks to the freedom school, they are people who truly care about youth. they offer a space where we can learn to change the world little by little, it doesn't matter what gender you are, how young you are or what race you are.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

becoming a better person.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have a bigger location, to give more youth the opportunity to go through this.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I recently attended a CFS training. The organizers were prepared, eloquent, and poised to handle any question directed at them. In the past CFS has opened their space for other groups I am a part of to meet there when we didn't have our own space. They are truly committed to supporting anti-oppression struggles of every kind. CFS is fierce!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Social justice organizing

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase funding so they can expand their services!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have attended trainings and programs put on the Chicago Freedom School and have learned so much about how to make meangingful social change. Through the Midwest Youth Organizer Training I was enaged in dialogue and given resources which allowed me to think about how I support youth with whom I work in doing work around specific social justice issues while simultaneously developing their own identities and community organizing skills. The training at CFS was critical to the success of I program I ran the following summer.

As I have been involved with CFS I have consistently been involved by the breadth of programs they have which address social justice issues- whether it is events commemorating Haiti or a film screening followed by a panel disucssion about adolescents growing up without sight, CFS works to educate and bring people together in a way that is inspirational and imapactful.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my professional work (please see review above) and also in my own identity. The way I think about the world, my place in it and the way I ally with others has been profoundly influenced by CFS.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand their programming and trainining. So many of us have so much to learn from the work of CFS

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

CFS is the best place for youth to go and just get away from the day. Being a freedoom fellow and a memeber of the Youth leadership board is jus wonderful The adults are ot like any adults you would ever meet, they are kind and dont judge like everyone else.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

being a freedom fellow expericening CFS upfront.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

woulkdnt do anything CFS is just perfect.!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been volunteering on and off with CFS for a few years now, and from my experience it is one of the most comprehensive and effective social justice organizations I have come across. CFS has a broad vision that includes all levels of antioppression thought. From that basis they are able create extremely effective programs that target larger-scale, long-term systemic change through popular education. They exemplify what it means to be dedicated to dismantling the imbroglio of oppression, and they do it with loving kindness.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how they work with youth and adults alike to challenge oppression at an internal and external level.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand their programming into venues and schools around the city.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I began volunteering with CFS before all of its programs were up and running. Even in those early stages of its development, I learned how powerful grassroots organizing can be, especially when that organizing focuses on bridging the gaps between youth and adults. When CFS was still just an idea, young people were not just visible, but empowered to help make decisions that impacted the direction of the organization!

Since 2007, youth have continued to play a vital role in the functioning of CFS. As volunteers around the office, as representatives of CFS at national conferences, and as board members, the youth who are involved with CFS demonstrate that they are capable leaders.

I have been to several trainings hosted by CFS, including their adult ally training, which I believe the youth and youth organizer have begun making a must--have training for not-for-profits and grass roots organizations.

I could continue, but time does not permit me to do so. To sum up, CFS is an excellent organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I personally experienced a transformation in how I understand the dialect of oppression. Being oppressed, but also an unwitting oppressor, CFS has taught me that We all have a responsibility to help correct injustice in this world. I have also been fortunate to experience the transformations of several youth over the course of six weeks during the summer program. The various ways that the "Freedom Fellows" challenge themselves and the organization to think critically about social justice is amazing.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

add a youth activism museum where records (written, visual, and audio) and artifacts that document the power of young people who are committed to social justice can be maintained and exhibited for a large audience. I would also add several funding opportunities for youth to travel nationally and internationally to learn about how various communities around the world have struggled against oppression and to learn how to build solidarity amongst oppressed people.

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Rating: 5 stars  

There should be something like a Chicago Freedom School available to every child in the country because it embraces young people and guides them on a justice-based path of learning. I've seen CFS youth bring a room to a steady buzz of excitement because they stand up to hold people accountable, or talk about a certain campaign. I've also seen CFS youth quite a room with their poerty and insight. In my work as a media and environmental justice activist I've worked with many youth organizations and collaborated with dozens of groups. Specifically, a good portion of this collaboration is working with the group to create a story or piece of media that is distributed at the community radio station I'm based at (Radio Arte). In this case I interviewed staff members and youth who were preparing to attend the US Social Forum in Detroit, a gathering of over 20,000 activists/artists/educators. i was amazed at the level of care given to the planning of how ach youth would have would experience the forum. I walked around the space between interviews and found every single radical/critical/amazing book and film I've ever come across. In that moment I know that this space was a place for transformation and guidance.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Participating in public forums and conferences with the youth and opening a dialogue with them that enhanced the overall conversation, but gave me insight into their perspective. I've attended events that were organized and facilitated by CFS and have left with pages of notes and ideas.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase access to this org's visionary ideas, and opportunities, to immigrant youth and non-english speakers. Make the speeches, texts, artwork, media created by the youth readily available to the public or at least to allies of CFS who can use it in making a statement of for a testimony.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My connection with the Chicago Freedom School (CFS) began with me as an intern during my grad program. My experiences with the youth, staff, and volunteers reinforced that a positive, open, and intentional working environment is possible. CFS' self-awareness as a learning and growing organization is what makes it powerful. The staff modeled the roles of being effective adult allies to youth, which was crucial for me and consistent throughout my internship.

My experience as an intern in CFS continues to guide my growth as a social justice seeker.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

challenging my skills as a presenter, developing my role as an adult ally, and feeling free to explore my passions without shame or regret.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

suggest you awarding them, since it would directly affect CFS' programming, ability to reach more youth, and organizational growth.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The Chicago Freedom School (also lovingly known as CFS), is an organization of dedicated, and sincere youth & adult allies working towards social justice in Chicago communities. Utilizing popular education, sound, sustainable strategy, and historical exapmples of past social and economic justice movements, CFS creates a space where true collabration and collective work have the opportunity to bloom. As a result, CFS has developed solid programming for youth & adult learners to be and become rooted activists. Chicago is a better place because of this organization, and will continue to grow in a positive direction. I am honored to be a part of the this family. Thanks to everyone at CFS for all you do!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...myriad ways! CFS is a fine center for learning, and growth. Since moving to Chicago almost 3 years ago, I have been able to develop in my activism thanks to the encouragement from CFS youth, staff, and Board!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would increase the number of staff so that the Chicago Freedom School has the capacity to engage more communities throughout Chicago.

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Review from Guidestar