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Randolph, The Listening partner to open region’s first Freedom School

Nick George, founder and executive director of The Listening, and Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of Randolph College, shake hands following the announcement of the new partnership.

Nick George, founder and executive director of The Listening, and Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of Randolph College, shake hands following the announcement of the new partnership.

On Tuesday, Randolph formally announced a new partnership with The Listening to open a Freedom School. The program is the first of its kind in Lynchburg, and only the second Freedom School in the state of Virginia.

An initiative of the Children’s Defense Fund, Freedom Schools offer a free, six-week summer literacy and cultural enrichment program for K-12 students in communities where quality academic enrichment programming is limited, too expensive, or non-existent.

“Discussions for bringing the Freedom School program to Lynchburg have been floating around for a number of years, but The Listening’s leadership reflected on current cultural and national events events—namely, the 2017 tragedy in Charlottesville—as a catalyst to officially begin planning,” said Nick George, founder and executive director of The Listening. “Randolph College was one of the many local institutions that has been supportive since the beginning of this process, and we are thrilled to continue working together in the name of community building, education, and social impact.”

Sessions are led by highly qualified, college-aged servant leader interns from a variety of academic disciplines. In addition to educational activities, students in the program receive two nutritious meals a day as well as a new book each week to build their home libraries.

Enrollment for the Freedom School at Randolph is set to open in spring 2019.

“We are thrilled that Randolph College will be partnering with The Listening and the Children’s Defense Fund to launch this area’s first Freedom School,” said Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “Randolph strives to prepare students to experience life abundantly. I can imagine no better way to pursue that mission than hosting a Freedom School.” 



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