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Apply Today: CDF Beat the Odds Scholarship Program

Ian Leui, Jazmin de Luna, Manual Lopez, Samantha Galindo and Samarea Johnson were honored in December at our 28th annual CDF Beat the Odds® gala. They mingled with celebrities and enjoyed an evening where they were the center of attention, and their hard work – at school, home and in their community – was recognized. Now we are accepting applications for our next cohort of students to be a part of the CDF Beat the Odds family. Our online application portal is open through March 29. The program honors outstanding young people who demonstrate academic commitment, are involved in improving their community while overcoming adversity. Through a competitive review process, we will select five deserving high school freshmen from the greater Los Angeles area to receive academic support geared towards college enrollment and completion. In order to apply students must write a personal statement that describes their hardships and how they have overcome them and get a letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, casework or any other unrelated adult. Other requirements can be found online. Application deadline is March 29.

More Featured Updates

CDF Freedom Schools® Spotlight: Courtney Linsey

Dec 11, 2019|Categories: Articles, Featured Update|

Courtney Linsey’s grandfather was a bishop for the Christian Episcopal Methodist Church, went to high school with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was once even arrested with him for civil disobedience during one of King’s many protests against segregation during the Civil Rights Movement. One would think with a grandfather like that, Courtney’s path would have been clear from the start. But it wasn’t. It took a while before Courtney grew into his roots. He was a social teenager and did what teenage boys do. When he finally went to college, he started to see the world a little different. His first year at Cal State Fullerton was sprinkled with racism and it was where he got his first real exposure to activism. Several years later, he learned about the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program and went to its [...]

CDF Freedom Schools® Spotlight: Derrell Roberts

Dec 11, 2019|Categories: Articles|

In California each year, more than 1,200 scholars participate in Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools®, a six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program. Many of these children attend sites in the Sacramento area hosted by Roberts Family Development Center. The summer of 2019 marked the sixth year Roberts Family Development Center and its founders, Derrell and Tina Roberts, have partnered with Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) to run the program. Enrollment has grown from 160 students in the first year to almost 900 in 2018. In 2019, they had six sites serving 640 youth in first through eighth grades from three Sacramento area school districts. Funding the program was a challenge in the beginning, said Derrell Roberts. But securing support got much easier after realizing improved reading scores, increased parent engagement, and positive ethnic identity benefits that are challenging for many districts. Roberts works [...]

CDF Freedom Schools® Spotlight: Antoinette MaGee

Dec 11, 2019|Categories: Articles|

When Antoinette MaGee was pregnant she remembers hearing about the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program. And once she learned more about it, and visited a site, she was sold. “I knew I wanted my baby to be in the program,” she said. “I used to say ‘Please, Paula just stay around long enough so that I can put my baby in the program.” MaGee is referring to longtime CDF Freedom Schools partner Paula Woods. She and her husband, Leon, run Success in Challenges, a social service nonprofit organization in Long Beach. MaGee was working with the Woods on some of their other programs. Almost six years later, MaGee got her wish. Her 5-year-old daughter, Katelynn, is a CDF Freedom Schools scholar at the Success in Challenges site and it would be an understatement to say that Katelynn likes the program. “No I [...]

CDF Freedom Schools® Spotlight: Alfreca Howard

Dec 10, 2019|Categories: Articles|

Alfreca Howard and her son, Ausar In college, Alfreca Howard’s major was Africana Studies. Since then she has fully embraced her culture and does everything she can to make sure her 11-year-old son, Ausar, knows and understands Black history. So when she came across a literacy and cultural enrichment program that kept the legacy of civil rights leader and human rights activist Ella Baker alive, she knew her son had to be a part of it. “Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® reinforces the values and cultural foundation that I have instilled in my son,” Howard said. “We are in alignment and it feels so good. We are speaking a common language.” For Howard, the CDF Freedom Schools climate is much needed to contrast the very different experiences children get in public schools, where often Black and Brown youth are set up to fail [...]

Today is Children’s Health Day and this is my story …

Oct 7, 2019|Categories: Featured Update|

Today is Children’s Health Day and this is my story … I had a speech impediment as a child. As a result, I was embarrassed to speak up in class. It wasn’t until the age of 24, when I had comprehensive health insurance, that I was diagnosed hard of hearing in my left ear by an ear, nose and throat specialist. It all finally made sense. At Children's Defense Fund-CA (CDF-CA), I advocate so that children of color do not grow up without access to healthcare. I make sure working families know about and enroll in programs like Medi-Cal so their children can see a specialist if they need one and not have to wait years like i did. CDF-CA works to protect, improve and expand health coverage for children and families of color who need it the most. Children in California should [...]

Spotlight: Beat the Odds Alumna

Sep 6, 2019|Categories: Featured Update|

Four years ago, Erica Cortez graduated from John C. Fremont High School and was a Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds scholarship recipient. While in high school Cortez participated in the financial aid workshops, college counseling sessions and any other life skills or mentoring opportunities the program offered. She also received a little financial support during her first year at Occidental College. But what has been most helpful is the emotional support she has received from Children’s Defense Fund-California staff throughout her college experience. “I’ve gotten other scholarships and been in other programs and none of them really care like CDF-CA,” said Erica, 22. “They just give you money and that’s it. But that doesn’t really help you in the long run. They have mentored me on what I should do and the best route to take in my life.” That mentorship led [...]

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