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James Lawson Freedom School2022-05-13T12:59:00+00:00

Inspiring young adults to make a difference in themselves, their community, and the world.

Implemented in partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund, The James Lawson Freedom School provides children and youth in grades K-12 within the Allentown School District a unique educational opportunity to interrupt summer learning loss experienced by many inner-city children.

Delivered as a six-week summer initiative that partners mission appropriate college-level interns (referred to as Servant Leaders) with students (referred to as Scholars), the school operates annually from June to the end of July, Monday through Friday (8am to 1pm), and provides children with free books, nutritious meals, educational field trips, and an opportunity to learn about the significance of the American Civil Rights Movement. Together this boosts student motivation to read, generates positive attitudes toward learning, and connects the needs of the children and families to the resources of their communities.

Dates: June 20 – July 29, 2022 from 8am to 1pm

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Supporting children and families through…

Academic Enrichment

All children deserve to attend diverse, well-funded schools where they have access to high-quality educators and resources.

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Nutrition

Millions of children entered the pandemic without consistent access to nutritious food, leaving them vulnerable to hunger and harm.

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Child Health

All children need access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage that is easy to get and to keep.

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Meet Our Staff

Katarah Jordan

Director of the James Lawson Freedom School

Katarah Jordan is a lifelong learner and educator and believes that every child deserves to be successful and thrive from cradle to career. Katarah lives by the motto “What’s Healthy Grows.” She understands that healthy, enriching and well communities begin with classrooms that are an extension of the love and encouragement that every scholar deserves at home.

She is eager to be working directly with Resurrected Community Development Corporation as the James Lawson Freedom School Director, to provide scholars with an enriching learning experience designed to foster mastery and a love for one’s community. Katarah understands that our scholars deserve safe, supportive and equitable spaces where they can explore all of their possibilities and actualize their potential. Centering her work in community collaboration and exploratory learning she is dedicated to pushing forward a research-based and holistic multicultural program model that supports scholars, their families, their community and their world. Katarah brings a wealth of lived experience and a proven track record of being a transformative leader and growing the reach and the teams and organizations she leads through excellence, accountability, curiosity and innovation.

Prior to her food banking career as Director of Second Harvest Food Bank, Katarah has had a lifetime of leadership roles. She has served in various capacities with PASA Sustainable Agriculture, is a 2021 Rider-Pool Collective Impact Fellow. In the summer of 2021, Katarah completed a coveted immersion fellowship at Soul Fire Farm in Summer 2021 a black-led, liberation focused incubator farm.

Katarah earned her M.Ed. from East Stroudsburg University in Education and her BA from Lincoln University. A certified Master Gardener, her passions lie within the soil, and in the classroom. If she could teach anything it would be to teach people to grow their own food.

Delia Mitchell, MS

Program Assistant

Delia Mitchell worked for the James Lawson Freedom School for 2 years. She is a Certified Life Coach and founder of “Honor Your Vision Life Coaching, LLC” She’s worked in Behavioral Health and Community Engagement for 18 years.

Xiomara Pagan

Site Coordinator- RCDC

My name is Xiomara Pagan I am 35yrs old with 4 beautiful children and married to my high school sweetheart. I am a full-time paraprofessional at Hays elementary school. I have been in the Allentown school district for 6 years now. I work with Autistic support children. I will be graduating in May 2022 with an associate degree in Early Childhood Education then I’ll be transferring to Kutztown University for my bachelor’s degree in Education. I always wanted to be a teacher, but I have a bigger goal now. My goal is to open my own learning center and provide the education that these children truly need. I am super excited to be part of this amazing program and to connect with all the children and their families. Let’s make learning fun. This is something I always tell my children.

Melissa Diop

Site Coordinator- Christ Lutheran Church

My name is Melissa Diop, I am originally from the state of New Jersey. I recently moved to Easton, PA. I am a State Certified Teacher. I enjoy teaching and building relationships within communities. I have so many great things planned for your scholar. My goal is to provide an enriched multicultural program that supports scholars and families through effective communication, family involvement and engagement. Every scholar will be well nourished with our wonderful food service to improve their physical and mental health. Presently, our staff is busy planning and preparing for Summer 2022 at Freedom School. We’ve learned many lessons from 2021 and have updated and made modifications to our health policies and procedures for cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing all areas in the facility. We are prepared to resume a high-quality, safe, meaningful academic and fun experience that parents and scholars will appreciate with additional precautions to ensure that Freedom school is safe, clean and fully equipped with all the necessary PPE for scholars and staff. I am happy to be a part of the Children’s Defense Fund that offers a fun- filled program where children can encounter new opportunities, make new friends and explore and enjoy a unique and unforgettable Summer 2022!

Jennifer Crayton

Site Coordinator- Greater Shiloh Church

Jennifer Crayton has been a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker. No, not really. She’s baked and butchered some meat as a cook but has not made any candlesticks…yet. What we are saying is that through God’s grace she has been able to do many things. She has experienced life as a teacher, corporate recruiter, business owner, construction laborer and cook. Throughout it all, she has been of service to others. Jennifer has been involved with the Arts Community of Easton, the Delaware Valley Beading Society, Phillipsburg Public Library, Habitat for Humanity, Hudson Cradle, Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering, and various soup kitchens and food banks in NJ and PA. She has been a part of the Easton, and the Phillipsburg Downtown Associations, the Friends of Easton, PA, the Easton Main Street Initiative, and the Phillipsburg Area Performing Arts. Romans 12:6 states that “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” It is her intention to use her gifts to serve others in whatever way she can.

Servant Leader Interns

Cierra
Cierra
School: Barnard College of Columbia University
Major: Linguistics
My Why: Give scholars a good background to prepare for school
Magnus
Magnus
School: West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Major: Pre-Med studying Exercise Science
My Why: set a good role model for scholars
Kerline
Kerline
School: Kutztown university of Pennsylvania
Major: Biology/allied health
My Why: enjoy helping the younger generation and be a role model, increase leadership skills
Alex
Alex
School: Penn State University
Major: Biological Sciences and Health Professions
My Why: Give scholars a good education
Latreil
Latreil
School: Penn State University
Major: Biological Sciences and Health Professions
My Why: Give scholars a good education
Donovan
Donovan
School: Lehigh University
Major: Undecided
My Why: loves giving back to the community
Ashona
Ashona
School: Florida A&M University
Major: Nursing
My Why: Encourage young black kids and inspire the younger generation
Nick
Nick
School: Lehigh University
Major: Health, Medicine and Society
My Why: Give a good support system, be a voice and you can be something better
Jillayne
Jillayne
School: LCC
Major: Political Science
My Why: Give scholars knowledge
Shavron
Shavron
School: Kutztown University
Major: Social Media Theory and Strategy
My Why: “hope” to the next generation and set goals
Ron
Ron
School: University of Pittsburgh
Major: Political Science and Economics
My Why: inform and inspire scholars
Esmeralda
Esmeralda
School: West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Major: Political Science
My Why: Pass on reading to the scholars
Kiara
Kiara
School: Temple University,
Major: Biology
My Why: Give better education and see themselves in

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