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Nia Cultural Center’s CDF Freedom School
Since 2007, Nia Cultural Center has operated the  Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School.  Rooted in the Civil Rights Movement, Freedom Schools are modeled after the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964.  The core belief of Freedom School is that reading is the key that unlocks the door to a child’s potential.  College Interns (Servant Leader Interns) teach scholars from 5 – 18 that they can make a difference in themselves, their families, their communities, their nation and their world.  It uses an Integrated Reading Curriculum that promotes reading, cooperative learning, critical thinking, social action, conflict resolution, and discussion skills.   
Books at Freedom school reflect a wide variety of cultures, experiences, and characters through the use of positive images and role models.  Guests from the community serve as read a-loud guests or provided enrichment activities during afternoon activities.  The children are served two nutritious meals a day and embark weekly field trips   
Thanks to St. Vincent’s House, the Kempner Fund, The Moody Permanent Endowment Fund, Mary Moody Northen Foundation, Yaga’s Children’s Fund, Galveston Independent School District, the Theasel Henderson Foundation and many others for their kind support of Freedom School.
SHAPE Center Freedom Tour
Beginning in 1998, Nia has embarked on the SHAPE Center of Houston’s Freedom Tour.  The Freedom Tour is a civil rights educational project that enables youth to visit and explore historical civil rights landmarks throughout the south.  The tour encompasses seven southern states that were instrumental in the passing of the Civil Rights Act; it retraces the valiant steps of the Civil Rights Movement. Stops include march and protest sites, museums, and historically African American colleges and universities.  Some of the cities included Jackson, Mound Bayou,  Hattiesburg, and Greenwood, Mississippi; Selma, Montgomery, Tuskegee and Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Memphis Tennessee, Little Rock Arkansas;  and Beaufort South Carolina



Transformations Girls Rites of  Passage
Transformations Girls Rites of Passage
The Transformations Girls Rites of Passage Program began in 1996 with funds from the Community Youth Development Program, a program designed to help curb juvenile crime and violence in the 77550 zip code.  It involved girls ages 7 – 17 and their mentors.  The program aims at instilling in young African-American girls a strong respect for self, family, and community through a combination of work and study with fun and friendship.  
Girls in the program are taken through a series of activities and steps that allow them to demonstrate their abilities to be successful academically and socially.  We believe that when children are able to see themselves being successful, they begin to believe in themselves and they can set ambitious goals, including completing high school and college.  Emphasis is placed on mastering those skills and responsibilities that come with adulthood – self discipline, academic success, leadership, knowledge of history and culture, family values, self esteem,  health and community service.
Girls Rites activities include classroom study of life skills, African and African-American history, dance, field trips, cultural events, and community service projects. 
At the Rites of Passage Initiation Ceremony, the initiates present to the community what they have learned through oratory and artistic performances. 





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