Welcome All Souls’ Freedom School!
All Souls Unitarian Church is currently enrolling K-8 children in a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program for this summer – the only one in the state of Indiana! Only 40 spots are available .
Empirical studies and personal testimonials have documented that CDF Freedom Schools® mitigate the summer learning loss that accounts for 50 percent of the educational disparities that hold too many of our neighborhood children back from a lifetime of success. Last summer, 83 percent of participating children – referred to as “scholars” – gained literacy skills, where normally they would have lost two to three months’ worth of skill development. We are inviting you to work with us to offer scholarships to our All Souls’ Freedom School so that more children can assess this pathway to success. Donation Information Donate here.
This model evidence-based, six-week summer educational program features a culturally-appropriate and affirming curriculum that emphasizes reading, writing, mentoring, leadership, and conflict resolution. Freedom Schools help children and young adults to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference in themselves and in their families, schools, communities, nation, and world. CDF Freedom Schools program sites are safe and restorative learning spaces where:
- children are surrounded by caring adults and young adults from their community (at a classroom ratio of 1:10) who share their enthusiasm for learning and reading, and commit to serving them as authentic mentors;
- children read high quality books and are engaged in learning activities that are appropriate to their developmental needs and interests;
- each day begins with “Harambee!,” a 30-minute activity to celebrate and affirm the value of each participant and prepare for work and learning ahead;
- children receive two nutritious meals and a healthy snack each day;
- parents are engaged as site volunteers and participate in weekly workshops on children’s developmental needs, civic responsibility, and other topics of interest;
- children are encouraged and supported to dream, set goals for themselves, and cultivate positive attitudes and high expectations;
- young people whose lives have been interrupted and impacted by crises receive consistent, daily service to better understand themselves, their situations, each other, and their potential; and
- families bear none of the cost, so there is no barrier to entry.
Our All Souls’ Freedom School is so necessary because our neighboring elementary school (IPS 106) has low passing rates, and has not been able to offer summer school for seven years now. These children need more learning opportunities if they are going to become graduates. The All Souls’ Freedom School is stepping into that gap, and fostering parent engagement. Additionally, through the service component built into the program design, the participating families, staff, and volunteers practice good citizenship. Donate here.
Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis: Indianapolis Interfaith Hospitality Network
In 2013, All Souls Unitarian Church joined this Indianapolis network of over 30 churches. Up to four times a year each church hosts four homeless families for a week to provide them with safety, loving care, meals, shelter, and transportation. The hospitality program at All Souls enjoys the enthusiastic and generous support from the congregation. Each hosting week 50 or more members and friends volunteer to be a chef, a van driver, a meal or overnight host, or to help prepare rooms for guests, or clean and do laundry after they leave. When families are at All Souls, four classrooms are transformed into bedrooms and the Beattie Room is used for dining and socializing. The families are transported to the Family Promise Day Center each morning and back again each evening by All Souls volunteers who drive the IHN van.
Family Promise of Indianapolis is one of 182 affiliates in the United States with approximately 6,000 congregations and 160,000 volunteers. Since its inception, more than 600,000 people have been served.
In 2013, 53,924 individuals were served by the affiliates. The success rate remained high as 75% of families moved on to long-term housing. The average length of stay in transitional housing was nine weeks.
As usual in 2013, some unique elements of this program stand out. Nearly 6% of families were headed by a single male parent. One quarter were two-parent families; 65% were headed by the mother. Fifty-eight percent of the people served were children, and 43% of those were age 5 and under. Families continue to receive support services in the Aftercare Program once they are in long-term housing.
Members at All Souls find that supporting this program is a very rewarding experience.
Exodus Refugee Immigration Organization
All Souls members volunteer to be trained as English as a Second Language teachers and teach English to refugee immigrants through the Exodus program.
Coburn Place Safe Haven is a shelter for domestically abused women, children, and a few men. It is located in old PS # 66 (Henry P. Coburn School). This solid brick structure, built in the late 1800’s and since transformed into 35 one, two, and three bedroom apartments, provides a cozy place for various size families to set up safe living while being able to proceed with working, caring for their children, attending school, learning living skills, and working toward self sufficiency.
All Souls has been involved with Coburn Pace for about five years through adopting and furnishing an apartment, contributing money, and through the Christmas Tree Giving project, providing laundry items, baby care needs, kitchen supplies, toiletries, cleaning supplies, first aid items, make-a-meal foods, and Gift Cards for groceries and gas. From our rummage sales, we gather nearly new kitchen equipment and dishes, furniture, baby equipment and contribute them to their supply rooms. The apartments are furnished from these supply rooms. Throughout the year church members donate the same type of equipment. This entire project is carried on by all our members including the children and youth.
The apartment that we furnished has a plaque outside its door identifying All Souls as the organization responsible for setting up and furnishing it.
The Greater Indianapolis CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Walk raises funds for local and worldwide efforts to fight hunger, poverty, and disease. CROP Walk is an enthusiastically supported tradition with the All Souls teens, who promote and participate in this Church World Service yearly, interfaith event. All Souls members and friends generously contribute to the CROP Walk cause and many participate in the Walk itself, which takes place each autumn on the beautiful Butler University campus and nearby neighborhood.
Mid North Food Pantry
All Souls provides year-long food donations to the Mid-North Food Pantry