Welcome to the Programs page, where you can learn more about our programmatic activities!
Freedom House Programs:
Freedom House Preparing Urban Students for Success in High School and Higher Education (PUSH)
Freedom House envisions a future where all students achieve at high levels and as successful adults contribute to their community. We believe that income inequality creates both opportunity inequality and outcomes inequality. A quality education is essential to both an individual’s career aspirations and financial well-being, and a community’s overall health and vitality. Freedom House is therefore committed to the objective of improving outcomes for Boston’s residents across the education pipeline and increasing the 2 and 4 year college graduation rate for low income, minority and first generation college students.
Freedom House offers high-quality educational programs which help students thrive, create, explore, challenge and grow! Freedom House created the Preparing Urban Students for Success in High School and Higher Education (PUSH) program to increase life time earnings of young people (thereby reducing poverty) and to create 21st century skills for employability. The PUSH program platform helps students develop the skills, strategies and support networks necessary to ensure that urban students graduate from high school, access higher education and graduate from college with the skills which enable them to participate and succeed in a global economy.
Our expertise as a community partner increases the capacity of public school systems to graduate students who are college ready and colleges to increase their graduation rates. Freedom House also focuses on overcoming systemic educational barriers, policies that negatively impact inner-city communities, and other social justice challenges.
Preparing Urban Students for Success in High School and Higher Education Programs support students through the individual challenges that stand in the way of persistence along the academic pipeline from high school to successfully earning a post-secondary degree or entering the workforce. We help students understand the relevance of what they are learning and we focus on communication, critical thinking, team work, on-line learning and civic engagement skill building. Our work has multiple impacts: individual students are helped to graduate from high school, access and persist in college, and to increase their lifetime earnings. A college degree has a positive impact on family structure, health, contributing to the tax base and lowering governmental transfer programs. Serving the broader needs of the community is part of our DNA and we connect individual success to strengthening the community with a cadre of educated people giving back and becoming leaders. This linkage between individual success and community development makes Freedom House unique and distinguishes us from our peers.
Preparing Urban Students for Success in High School
Young people living in challenging urban settings often experience gaps in in-school and out-of-school learning and development, and thus face significant obstacles to developing the attributes and resiliency necessary to succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and professionally. The Freedom House High School program targets students who are unlikely to have participated in traditional leadership development programs and yet have life experiences that suggest they would benefit most from such an opportunity.
PUSH High School is a year round out-of-school time leadership, personal development and academic, program for 20 – 25 Boston minority and low income high school students. It helps students increase their self-awareness, improve their self-esteem and develop the resiliency skills needed to achieve success in high school and become leaders in their community. The program also promotes a college ready culture through a 3 pronged approach involving individual student counseling, building partnerships with key institutions including BPS, Community Colleges and UMass Boston, an intensive summer learning institute and a school year program with academic enrichment and a leadership development/civic engagement curriculum.
Our holistic target is to ensure that young people develop the knowledge, skills, capabilities and attitudes which they need for their emotional, social, physical well being now and for the future.
Our goals are to:
Start college preparation early with the knowledge and guidance from caring adults, tutors from local colleges and a summer intensive program on math, writing and study skills. Students also learn navigational skills for high school which will help them be self sufficient later in the college environment.
Increase the numbers of students graduating from high school; raise and improve GPAs - which are a strong indicator of a student’s level of commitment and academic self-confidence, academic skills time management skills, study skills, study habits. We provide tutors, computer courses about internet research, and connect students to high school and college resources.
Build leadership skills and commitment to civic engagement through group participation in a project around a specific high school issue. Young people select the issue, research, write scripts and perform a play. Our students are unlikely to have participated in traditional leadership development programs and yet have life experiences that suggest they would benefit from such an opportunity. We serve students often facing significant life challenges yet who retain a resilient core, and possess a strong desire to succeed and become agents of positive change in their schools and communities. Given the right opportunities and support, we believe these students have the resolve and potential to be successful students and engaged community leaders.
PUSH High School would like to recognize one student in particular who has received "The Smarty Pants Award." Throughout the program, our students would be entered into a drawing based on the number of A's they received and brought in from their high schools. Each week, students would show me their test grades, essay grades, and project grades and if they received an "A" within one of the categories, I would tally their name. We tallied the score and Michaela Leanne is our Smarty Pants of the week winner!
Smarty Pants Awards was a fun and competitive way to get our students motivated to receive A's! Michaela was particularly excited because she has had issues in the past academically so it was exciting for her to be recognized for her hard work!
The Otto and Muriel Snowden Center for Civic Engagement and Action
Otto and Muriel Snowden were community activists dedicated to making the world a better place. The results of their efforts can be seen across the city, and in some instances, across the nation. With Freedom House’s history of involvement in civil rights, education, and public policy, we strive to ensure that the doors to the halls of power are to all, regardless of race, class, or gender. The Center seeks to engage all in convening, advocacy and partnership efforts to identify, educate and ultimately to reduce educational disparities within low-income communities of color in Boston. The Center stands as a shining symbol of the legacy of Freedom House founders, Otto and Muriel Snowden and it will build on the legacy of inclusion they established at Freedom House. From the early days of the civil rights movement to the educational equity issues still prevalent today, Freedom House has brought together diverse groups to identify solutions and connect to policy leaders.
The Center will help people acquire the skills needed to build healthy social, economic and politically viable and engaged communities and to address today’s most pressing social issues by:
- Becoming more involved in advocacy and organizing efforts;
- Participating in information gathering in order to assess the community impact of policy decisions and;
- Facilitating public dialogue by hosting forums, debates etc.
Given the central role computers play in everyday life, communities must get the most out of every opportunity and resource available for their residents. Whether it is free computing time, classes on computing basics or tools to strengthen and enhance skills, Freedom House is providing support to help people thrive in the information age.
Our programs also help bridge the digital divide by providing academic support, technology education and access to computers for neighborhood residents through the Timothy Smith Technology Center.
(Introduction to basic computer skills. For information on classes, please call (617) 445-3700 for information.)
Open Access Computer Lab
On any given day, dozens of our neighbors visit the Timothy Smith Computer Learning and Educational Center computer labs to look for jobs, find a recipe or catch up on current events. This is but one way we help communities stay connected to the world.
The computer labs are typically open from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm for adults and seniors. There is no charge to use the lab, and it is open to the public. While visiting the lab, we ask that you observe the lab policies. We are taking applications for basic computer, Microsoft word and email skills in English and in Spanish.
Freedom House provides basic computer classes in Spanish and English. If you would like to register or learn more about the programs, contact (617) 445-3700 as soon as possible.
Freedom House Summer Intensive Institute
The Summer Institute provides intensive math review, English and writing, financial aid advising, enrollment assistance, and efficacy training during the summer months to better prepare students for thinking about college. The goals of the Summer Institute are to support students’ preparation while still in high school, ensure a successful arrival on the college campus once admitted, and development of the ability to thrive in a college environment. The Institute consists of a six-part workshop series, one-on-one case management as needed and monthly mentor meetings. The weekly workshops cover topics such as: 1) College 101: How to Survive Freshman Year; 2) Paying for College: An Overview of the Financial Aid Process and Strategies; 3) Efficacy Training; 4) Writers’ Workshop: Tips and Tools to Improve Your College Writing; 5) Time Management and Effective Study Skills; and 6) Managing Change: Transitioning from High School to College Life. The students also focus on community service and civic engagement training at least one day a week.
Freedom House has participated in a rigorous initiative geared towards reducing summer learning loss for high school students under the Boston Opportunity Agenda. The Boston Public Schools were selected as one of six school districts nationwide to receive funding from the Wallace Foundation to strengthen summer learning programs and measure their effectiveness over time. Providing high quality summer learning opportunities particularly for children from low income and minority communities helps to reduce the loss of knowledge and skills during summer break.
Writing Course - Tips & Tools for improve your college writing: No matter what level your writing skills are, students will be provided access to tools and strategies that will assist them in planning out college writing assignments. Tuesdays and Wednesdays for 6 weeks.
Math Course: Students may receive math instruction on campus or at Freedom House. Time TBD depending on the number of students who request this course.
College 101 - How to Survive Freshman Year: An overview for students on how to navigate the college system and how to avoid many of the common problems freshmen often encounter.Whether you live on-campus or off-campus, the college transition will be exciting; and challenging for students and parents alike. This session will help students better understand the variety of issues that students may face.
Paying for College - An overview of the Financial Aid Process and strategies to get the most out of it: Students will better understand the ABCs’ of financing a college education and avoid burdening themselves with too much debt. This Financial Aid Workshop will offer one stop shopping for students and their parents detailing the required financial resources to attend college. Students will learn about federal, state, institutional and private sources of aid as well as understand required annual processes and procedures. Presented by Access Boston
Efficacy: A self development workshop to help students commit themselves to achieving a Proficiency mindset. This session will help students understand and apply Effective Effort to their tasks, while also learning to monitor data about their own performance to guide their learning strategies.
Learning Styles & Effective Study Skills: Students will be introduced to and engage in a "hands-on" review of study techniques that will assist them in achieving better grades. Topics include getting organized, note taking, test taking strategies and understanding when and how to get help from college resources.
Time Management: Understanding what your weekly schedule includes and how to map out and prioritize tasks.
Majors & Careers: Students learn the connection between majors and careers and how to begin setting goals in their first year.
“On” and “Off” Campus Advising: Through regular on campus office hours and periodic special programming at Freedom House, PUSH Participants will have access to advice, including financial aid, and other supports that help to ensure college success.
To register for the program, please call Kimberly Amyouny, Push Program Manager at Freedom House at 617.445.0025.
The Multi-Cultural Dropout Outreach Collaborative and One Step Closer
Advocacy and Organizing - Education Reform and Community Engagement
The multi-cultural Dropout Outreach Collaborative (MDOC) is a working group formed to respond to the high dropout rate in the Boston Public Schools and the consequences this has on youth and families in our communities. The group is comprised of the following organizations: Freedom House Inc., The Boston chapter of the NAACP, HOPE, The Boston Campaign for Proficiency, the Young Cape Verdean Club, Inc., and Boston City Council Chuck Turner’s Office. MDOC is one of the most influential entities in steering the reform and creation of new dropout prevention and recovery policies in the Boston Public School district.
MDOC’s mission is to Support Graduation for All Boston Public High School Students, with a special focus on ensuring the success of youth of color. We achieve it by…
- Mobilizing communities of color to support policies and practices that will accelerate and ensure graduation for all students in the Boston Public Schools;
- Organizing caring adults to provide ongoing, culturally competent support to BPS students of color who are at risk for dropping out, or who have dropped out;
- Developing powerful student, family, and organizational voices for change.
Our vision is that Boston’s multi-cultural and community-based agencies and leaders work in partnership with the Boston Public High Schools to…
- Cut the BPS dropout rate by 50% in five years by recovering dropouts and helping them to find a pathway to school success, and by expanding effective dropout prevention strategies;
- Increase public and private sector investments – both financial and practical – in dropout prevention and recovery for BPS students;
- Enable students of color to believe in one’s capacity to learn, to speak out, and to succeed; and
- Accelerate the movement of Boston’s communities toward a future in which all residents are well educated, securely employed, and civically engaged.
One Step Closer Mentoring Program
MDOC has also developed One Step Closer, a mentorship program for students at proven-risk, in partnership with Project Reconnect and the Youth Transition Task Force, staffed by The Boston Private Industry Council. The collaborative effort will focus on increasing the organizational capacity to diversify and complete the circle of multi-racial and multi-cultural parent and community involvement in education advocacy, with a special emphasis on filling the gap in representation of the Black community.
The multi-cultural Outreach Dropout Collaborative (MDOC) has partnered with Project Reconnect, the Youth Transitions Task Force, and The Boston Private Industry Council to create One Step Closer. In March 2008, One Step Closer began as a pilot program, and offered support to our first cohort of nine male students. These students were former high school dropouts who had reenrolled into a Boston Public School or GED program with the support of Project Reconnect. Our goal was to ensure that they stayed in school after being reenrolled. At the end of the first year of work, one student had graduated from high school, another had completed his GED, and 100% of the One Step Closer youth were pursuing further education at either the high school or post-secondary level.
The mission of this mentorship programis to support young men and women, who have dropped out of school or who are at high risk of dropping out in becoming successful adults with a life plan. We feel that the chances of success for a young person will be enhanced by pairing him or her with a caring adult from their community who has encountered similar experiences.
One Step Closer’s vision models that of MDOC and other partners, to see the high dropout rate eliminated and to ensure that the Boston Public School system truly supports young people graduating from high school to pursue post secondary education and a viable career.
Our overarching goal for the program is to work with a new cohort of students each year and to initiate relationships for youth through mentoring with adults that will last a lifetime.
We seek the volunteer involvement of people who share our vision!
If you would like to learn more about the program, contact:
Charmaine Arthur-Neverson, Program Manager, multi-cultural Dropout Outreach Collaborative (MDOC) at 617 445-3700 or download a copy of our One Step Closer Mentor application.
The Goldernaires of Freedom House
For over thirty years, the Roxbury Goldenaires have given seniors a place to stay active serving in their community and socializing among their peers. The group is involved in a number of community service programs, including singing at nursing homes and donating gift baskets during holiday seasons. Members of the Goldenaires meet regularly to discuss ways in which they can be involved in the community, and produce a monthly newsletter to spread the word about their efforts. Each year the Goldenaires host their Spring Fling, an annual gala and fundraising event celebrating the year’s accomplishments and honoring community involvement.
Some of the other activities they are involved include:
Arts & Crafts
Boston’s Leadership Pipeline: the Project REACH Alumni
In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the launch of Project REACH, an initiative was launched to allow Freedom House to connect with graduates of the Freedom House program to engage an untapped pool of professionals to secure a diverse leadership pipeline for Boston’s future. In the late 1980s, Boston’s youth murder rate was out of control, gun violence was on the rise, and the city’s neighborhoods were hostage to a vicious cycle of violence and hopelessness. As a powerful counter to that reality, Muriel Snowden, Founder of Freedom House, Inc. along with local philanthropist, Aulikki Olsen of the Stratford Foundation, had a vision – a program that would empower the young people of Boston to create a long-lasting, positive change in their communities. To that end, Snowden convened a group of community and educational leaders and their charge was simple: create a program that would allow young people of color from Boston to attend and graduate from college, achieve their personal goals and foster in them the desire to utilize their knowledge to positively impact their communities and the lives of others. The result of long hours of planning and discussion was Project REACH (Road to Educational Achievement).
With the establishment of the Project REACH Oversight Committee in 1987, and the first class of Project REACH Scholars inducted in the summer of 1988, the REACH model spanned eight years. It provided each REACH Class of 50 “scholars” with four years of academic, financial and personal support. This was offered in conjunction with a leadership development and community service curriculum that emphasized the importance of self-confidence, effective effort, hard work and the value and importance of “giving back” for the betterment of the community.
Now, because of the many resources that Project REACH provided to over 350 African American, Latino and Asian youth between 1988 and 1995, Muriel Snowden’s vision of a “cadre of highly developed and educated people of color, committed to service and actively engaged in the civic life of their communities” is taking shape. Today, Project REACH Alumni are engaged and contributing at high levels in the city of Boston. Among Project REACH Alumni are lawyers, obstetricians, teachers, engineers, community activists, and socially responsible entrepreneurs who are engaged in civic life and represent the next generation of leadership in the city of Boston. There are five Project Reach alumni/ae on the Freedom House Board of Directors.
Freedom House partners with a number of organizations to enhance service delivery, offer educational and training opportunities, and create strategic connections. Some of these partnerships include:
The Timothy Smith Fund funds 20 community computer labs across Roxbury, one of which is located at Freedom House.
The Freedom House archives are housed at Northeastern University
Freedom House partners with the organizations below in High School Renewal effort within Boston Pubic Schools.