2019 Dates:

Raleigh Freedom School: June 18 to June 28 (Tuesday to Friday)
Durham Freedom School: July 16 to July 28 (Tuesday to Friday)
Greensboro Freedom School: July 23 to August 2 (Tuesday to Friday)
Chapel Hill Freedom School: July 01 to July 11 (Monday to Thursday)

Freedom School tracks are 2 weeks long: 9am-4:30pm; Friday programming may run later.


Spots are limited.

Intern applications are currently closed.

What is Freedom School?

For the past 8 years, YOI’s Summer Freedom School has been a space for high school students who are passionate about changing the world to convene, share stories, and learn the skills necessary for creating the world we deserve. There will be art, workshops, dancing, talent shows, field trips, and so much more.

Freedom School focuses on the developing of this praxis: organizing skills, political analysis, restorative justice, and young people’s movement history. The multi-week program relies on the hard work of many volunteers, support from eager parents, and the participation, knowledge, and experience of youth. Our program covers topics from environmental racism to school to prison pipeline, sexism to homophobia, Indigenous land reclamation to reproductive justice and much more.

Our goal is that participants leave the program as co-conveners, co-designers, facilitators, and organizers of more spaces for youth strategy and liberation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Length: Freedom School runs for two weeks, from Tuesday to Friday each week.

Cost: There is no cost to attend. Participants who complete the training receive a $100 stipend.

Meals: We serve breakfast and lunch to attendees. We do our best to account for allergies and dietary restrictions.

Transportation: We can provide local carpools. If you’re not sure if you can make it from your location, just send us an email.

Graduation: After both Freedom Schools conclude, we convene once more for participants from both tracks to meet, celebrate, and receive certificates.

Parent Orientation: There is an optional parent orientation in each location to learn more about the program. Translation is available.

Sample Schedule:

  • 9am – Breakfast
  • 10am – Opening Circle
  • 11am – Workshop Block #1
  • 12pm – Lunch
  • 1pm – Workshop Block #2 – Art, talent show, etc
  • 2:15pm – Workshop Block #3
  • 3:45pm – Closing Circle

Freedom School History

In the summer of 1964, hundreds of summer volunteers from across the US converged on Mississippi to put an end to the system of rigid segregation. The project set up dozens of Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses, and community centers in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population. The project was organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), CORE, and NAACP. Most of the impetus, leadership, and financing for the Summer Project came from SNCC. The civil rights workers and the summer volunteers challenged the policies by the state of Mississippi to keep Blacks from voting, getting a decent education, and holding elected offices.  As a result of the Freedom Summer of 1964, some barriers to voting were eliminated and today Mississippi has close to 1,000 Black state and local elected officials. In fact, Mississippi has more Black elected officials than any other state. While the Freedom Summer of ’64 made profound changes in the state of Mississippi and the country, much remains to be accomplished.

Carrying forward the legacy of Freedom Summer, on the 5th anniversary of YOI’s summer program, we renamed  our our three week school to YOI’s Summer Freedom School.