What’s a Servant Leader Intern?*

My decision to join the Freedom School program the first year it was created at Stephen Wise had much to do with my growing up at the Temple and being educated at Wise School and Milken Community High School. Those early experiences helped shape my values and relationships. I began my experience with the Freedom School as a volunteer Junior Servant Leader Intern. As a JSLI, I assisted the main teacher, known as a Servant Leader Intern, and worked closely with Freedom School students, whom we call scholars. My role was to help each scholar develop strong reading skills along with an even stronger sense of self. More recently, this past summer, I worked as a Servant Leader Intern in the classroom.

Becoming friends with the Freedom School scholars has been extremely gratifying and incredibly fulfilling. No matter the day, the scholars always bound into Freedom School at 8:00 AM, beaming from ear to ear. Their energy is infectious, and their loving warmth is equally contagious. I’m able to express my values with them and they share their opinions and ideals with me. These scholars have influenced the way I learn and have given me a deeper appreciation for the teachers with whom I grew up.

I love working with my peers at Freedom School. We share a passion for our work and care deeply about the growth and health of each scholar. We have been changed by the Freedom School culture, which is centered around celebrating peoples’ unique qualities, as we all blossom into a family. At Freedom School we have a cheer for almost everything, instilling confidence and pride in our intellect and hard work. The lessons these children taught me extend way beyond the classroom. I find myself referencing my experiences with the Freedom School children in almost every occupation or role I assume. My experience as a Freedom School teacher has defined my passion for social justice.

* Now referred to as a Literacy Leader.