Letter from Co-Chairs

Shalom Park Freedom School

Dear Friends of Shalom Park Freedom School,

We want to thank each of you for your contributions, financial and otherwise, that help make Shalom Park Freedom School (SPFS) an example of how we can love our neighbors as ourselves.

The mission of SPFS is to build Jewish identity, pride and community by engaging all segments of the Charlotte Jewish Community in Tikkun Olam through a collaborative effort that provides a six-week literacy-based summer program for low-income students (we call them scholars) from Huntington Farms Elementary and Sterling Elementary, the two schools that have faith-based partnerships with Temple Israel and Temple Beth El.

SPFS is a collaboration of the following eight organizations:  Foundation of Shalom Park, Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center, Charlotte Jewish Day School, Temple Beth El, Temple Israel, Jewish Family Services and the Levine-Sklut Judaic Library.  The $90,000 we raise annually through donations and grant money pays for the Children’s Defense Fund literacy-based program complete with a trained Site Supervisor and college interns (who serve as teachers), meals, transportation and field trips.

What SPFS volunteers and teen board members add to this literacy-based program is cultural enrichment with a personal touch that reflects the values of our community.  Our scholars have been exposed to a variety of enriching activities offered by Shalom Park volunteers:  animation, linocuts, swimming, Opera, Tai Kwon Do, yoga, German, photography, sign language, drama, ballet, Zumba and cooking!  Go to our web-site’s home page to view the Welcome To Shalom Park Freedom School video of our program in action.

Research shows that in the summer many low-income students, unlike their more affluent peers, lose half of what they learned during the prior year because there is no academic stimulation.    Studies show that 65% of our summer scholars gain one or more levels of reading comprehension after just one summer and 90% maintain their reading ability during the summer.   At SPFS we think we have a winning formula to help scholars gain in literacy while enjoying their summer vacation – and we want to thank all of our volunteers and supporters for being part of that winning formula.

Annie Lord and Margaret Musa