9 School Tools

Freedom School has critical role for Charlotte students

When the coronavirus crisis hit Charlotte, the United Way of Central Carolinas and Foundation For The Carolinas partnered to launch the COVID-19 Response Fund.

The fund supports a range of nonprofits, assisting people most badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, this fund will help not just those who get sick, but also those who are economically impacted, such as families of students who cannot afford educational materials and supplies needed for remote learning.

One of the grant recipients was Freedom School Partners, which received $60,000 to purchase books as well as literacy and enrichment supplies to distribute at its pop-up educational events.

“While many of the books we receive are gently used and donated, we will use the funds to purchase new, culturally diverse books ranging from K-8, so our scholars can continue to have books to read over the summer and into the school year,” said Glenda Bernhardt, chief executive officer of Freedom School Partners.

“For literacy activities, supplies are needed to support deeper exploration of the books,” she added. “Some supplies may include paper, poster boards, markers and pencils, glue and arts and crafts materials.”

For nearly 20 years, the nonprofit has worked to eliminate summer learning loss and help students ignite their passion for reading and learning through summer programming.

This summer, the organization kicked off its 2020 Reading and Enrichment for Scholars Plus Other Needed Supplies and Essentials (R.E.S.P.O.N.S.E.) program. The program is conducted at 12 community site locations across Charlotte and includes a curriculum of on-site activities and presentations focusing on reading, math and music.

“The program has a virtual component and provides children and their families with books, snacks and take-home resources,” Bernhardt said. “Scholars will be encouraged to write poems or short stories about characters in the books, act out a scene, create a rap or song, or create artwork relating to the books.”

Freedom School Partners is one of many organizations working to improve the quality of education.

Since 1997, in partnership with Classroom Central and Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the WSOC-TV 9 School Tools program has collected school supplies, which are then distributed free to students in grades K-12.

For many families, the needs of the home sometimes outweigh needs at school. When a family must choose between buying enough food for the evening dinner or paying the power bill, the pressure of purchasing school supplies is an added expense that families can’t afford.


A 9 School Tools financial donation program is in place with different levels of giving that will support the needs of Classroom Central . Donors can equate their monetary donation to what can be supplied by Classroom Central.

Here are some of the giving levels:

  • A donation of $9 will help provide homework supplies for students.
  • A donation of $25 will help fill a student’s backpack with school supplies.
  • A donation of $50 will supply a teacher with essential school items.
  • A donation of $100 will supply an entire class with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) kits.


Learn more about 9 School Tools at www.9SchoolTools.com.

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