Seeds Publishers Engaging churches in the healing of hunger & poverty

Freedom School Press

Early in the summer of 2018, Seeds of Hope Publishers partnered with the Baylor School of Education's Freedom School to create a learning track for reporting about hunger.  The Freedom School curriculum comes from the Children's Defense Fund and is inspired by the Freedom Schools of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Baylor's School of Education conducted its second Freedom School in Waco, TX, this summer, working to build strong, literate, empowered children.

This learning track was inspired by a 2003 day camp in which Seeds staff and Megan Sims, then the children's minister for Seventh & James Baptist Church, taught a group of children how to report on local agencies that helped to get food to people in need.  The end product of that camp was the newsletter Hungry for Hope. When Baylor Freedom School director Lakia Scott heard about the Hungry for Hope camp, she immediately wanted to add a similar learning experience to the Freedom School curriculum for 2018.

Scholars visit the World Hunger Relief, Inc. Training Farm near Elm Mott, TX.

Our Freedom School Press adventure began on Tuesday, June 12, as about 30 scholars were initiated as reporters for this newsletter. On the first day, each reporter was given Freedom School Press credentials and practiced by interviewing their editor, Katie Cook, the Seeds editor. At the second session, teams of two and three were each given a photo and profile for one of 10 people who live with food insecurity—ranging from Los Angeles to Cambodia. One member of each team took on the identity of each profile. The other team members had to find out the stories by asking questions. This exercise taught them about interviewing and being interviewed. It also taught them about the many different places where people are food-insecure, and the many different circumstances that can cause them to be hungry.

Scholars interview Sherry Castello about the Gospel Cafe, where she organizes meals for hungry people.

Scholars spent time researching various issues of hunger. They visited the World Hunger Relief, Inc. Training Farm in Elm Mott, where they learned about sustainable agriculture. Better yet for them, they got to see rabbits, goats, pigs and chickens—although they learned some somewhat startling things about bunnies, as you will also see if you read the Freedom School Press newsletter. (See the pdf below.)

During the fourth session of Freedom School Press, the scholars met Sherry Castello, who was editor of the Baylor Line alumni magazine for 25 years and is now the head chef and organizer for the Gospel Café. The scholars interviewed her about being an editor and writer, and about the Gospel Café. (See the pdf below.) That evening, Sherry left a voice message at the Seeds office, saying, “I want to thank you again for the invitation to visit with the Freedom School students today. That is the most joy I have had in a long time. When I left there, I just couldn’t quit smiling. I appreciate the opportunity you provided today, and I love those kids.”

It is our hope that this project has taught the Freedom School reporters a few things about writing and listening, and a few things about people in the world around them. —lkc


Click here: Freedom School Press to download the full newsletter.